Visit Espelette (Aquitaine, France)
Espelette is a delightful village situated in the foothills of the Pyrenees to the east of Saint-Jean-de-Luz. Espelette is famous for its chilli peppers, those grown in this region even have an ‘appellation controlee’ to vouch for their authenticity. After the harvest the houses are strung with strings of the ‘piments’ and the effect is wonderfully colourful.
It is a pleasure to explore Espelette, with most of the houses in the village built in the traditional Basque style with white houses and red or occasionally green shutters.
The church at Espelette has the typical Basque interior with three levels of wooden galleries going round the walls and a very decorative altarpiece. It is a very attractive style for a church interior so make sure you wander inside some of the churches in this region.
Another interesting building is the 16th century castle that is now the village mairie, the tourist office and has various exhibitions - including an exhibition related to piments...
Espelette chilli peppers
The village of Espelette is very much dedicated to red chilli peppers! Walking round the village many of the shops are dedicated to the Espelette piments and you can buy the strings to take home for cooking or buy olive oil which has piment and garlic inside. Perfect to pour on pizza (French restaurants always have a bottle of spicy oil to pour on pizzas) or to spice up your salads and they make great presents. There are many other products too. In a neighbouring village they even had macaroons with piments in, quite tasty too!
Visiting in September or October you see the strings of bright red chilli peppers hung to dry on the house fronts. Visit later in the year and some are still there (many are sold) but turn a deeper shade of red as they dry.
If you can, visit Espelette during the ‘Fete aux piments’ in October.
The surrounding countryside of low mountains is perfect for exploring by car, walking or cycling - or by taking the small train that climbs the mountain at La Rhune.
There are several other villages nearby which also have the same basque architecture as Espelette, including Sare and Ainhoa which are both listed among the most beautiful villages in France and you are also close to the Atlantic beaches for example at Biarritz and Saint-Jean-de-Luz
Photos of Espelette
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Address: Espelette, Bayonne, Pyrenees-Atlantiques, Aquitaine, 64250 || GPS: latitude 43.3414, longitude -1.44639
Map of Espelette & places nearby
Highlights close by
Suggested tourist attractions to visit near Espelette, France
- Jardins de la villa Arnaga - remarkable garden (4km)
- Ainhoa - most beautiful village (6km)
- Sare - most beautiful village (11km)
- Anglet - ville fleurie 4* (16km)
- Bayonne cathédrale St Marie (monuments on French pilgrim routes) - heritage site (17km)
- Bayonne - secteur sauvegarde (17km)
- La Bastide-Clairence - most beautiful village (18km)
- Porte St Jacques - St Jean Pied-de-Port (monuments on French pilgrim routes) - heritage site (26km)
- Vallée des Aldudes - site of natural beauty (27km)
- Marais d'Orx - site of natural beauty (29km)
The French version of this page is at Espelette (Francais)