Nestled in the valley between the Pyrenees and the Bay of Biscay, Iparralde is the French region of the Basque Country. Translated from Basque, it means the equivalent of “The North”. It is much smaller than its Spanish equivalent, with only 264 thousand inhabitants. The easternmost region of Laburdi (Labourd in French) is by far the most populated, and relies on primarily on tourism and services to fuel their economy. Nafarroa Beherea and Zuberoa are very sparsely populated and have a unique dialect of Basque.

The history of Iparralde is fascinating, with a variety of conflicts. People have lived here for thousands of years, with some evidence of Roman and Visigothic influence. In 1152, the region was to come under the influence of England after the marriage of Eleanor of Aquitaine. The French would come to control the region after the Hundred Years’ War, a change that would cripple the trading port. Since then, Iparralde has been under the control of the French government, who have repeatedly tried force the French language onto the Basques, from King Francis I in 1537 to DeGaulle. These efforts can be seen by the fact that only 26% of the population speaks Basque.  Furthermore, the region, especially Zuberoa, has been a source of emigration since the collapse of factory industries in the times of the First Carlist War.

Recently, some of the jobs lost to the industrial revolution have come back, and some Basque pride has been found, with events like the Pastoral in Zuberoa and Ihauteriak in Laburdi highlighting a rich and long cultural history. Below are some of the pictures of these events, and some of the natural beauty of Iparralde.






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2 Responses to Iparralde

  1. cifrasola says:

    These pictures are beautiful, and the area looks so tranquil! It would be nice to visit someday, though I wonder if it might be a little harder to reach, transportation-wise. Thanks for sharing!

  2. borges99 says:

    I’m not sure it has a lot of relation (well it does have relation) but I’m just reading Ernest Hemingway’s “The Sun Also Rises”. You guys probably know about Hemingway, he was an American writer (from Oak Park, Illinois), famous for his short-stories and novels. Well “The Sun Also Rises” was his first novel and it’s about a group of Americans living in Paris who decide to take a trip down to Pamplona to run the bulls and do some fishing. On their way there they go through the French Basque country and the narrator does nice descriptions of how both the French and the Spanish Basque country looks like. I remember he mentions Bayonne in the French Basque country. Worth reading!

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