LA BASTIDE CLAIRENCE > AUX ALENTOURS > PAYS DE HASPARREN

> The Caves of Isturitz and Oxocelhaya

Situated 13 kms (8 miles – 18 minutes) from La Bastide, the caves of Isturitz and Oxocelhaya are an important, world-renown, prehistoric site. They have, since 1913, been inexhaustible sources of knowledge about humans from Neanderthals to Homo Sapiens who lived there as early as 80,000 years ago.
Throughout the 20th century and into the 21st, the site's three caves have been studied and continue to be studied by experts in the Upper Paleolithic period (between approximately 45,000 and 10,000 years ago).

Through their various specializations, archaeologists have helped to paint a portrait of:
- Daily life during the Upper Paleolithic 30,000-year period: hunting site, gathering place, prehistoric socialization, prehistoric economics and much more.
- Mobile art: 3,000 sculptures, etchings, decorated antler and bone tools and an impressive series of ornamental objects (pierced teeth; stone beads of talc, amber, lignite, etc.; and beads made of bone, ivory and shell amongst other items). The world's oldest artifact proving man's abstract thought (a flute, from a bird's bone – dated 30,000-32,000 BC) was found in the Isturitz cave.
- Parietal art: the Isturitz cave features a bas-relief pillar and deep etchings depicting deers, wolverines and other subjects, whilst the cave walls in Oxocelhaya boast etched bison and horses.

A visit to the caves and museum at the site highlights all of these various elements and showcases the immense wealth and long existence of humanity... Even today, numerous researchers are busy at the caves including archaeologists and geologists as well as visual artists, acoustics specialists and musicians seeking inspiration for their contemporary research and creation.

Grottes d'Isturitz et d'Oxocelhaya
64240 Saint Martin d’Arberoue
Tél. : (+33) 5 59 29 64 72
>> www.grottes-isturitz.com

> Hasparren

The "City of the Oaks", as Hasparren was called, is 8 kms (5 miles) from La Bastide Clairence. It is a charming town, worth the visit for its church, chapels, and treks up the Ursuia Mountain. Its restaurants offer typical basque dishes. Hasparren is home to a renowned micro-brewery and a high quality ham manufacture.

> Discovering the Vallée de l'Arbéroue with a guide

For those who speak French and like to venture out of the beaten path, Marie-Luce and Jean-Marc will share their love of our beautiful region. Hiking through the countryside, they will explain how unique our corner of the world is, with all its history and its still-vibrant basque culture.
July-August: Departure every Thursday at 6pm, place of Saint-Martin d'Arbéroue
January-June and September-December: upon request, minimum 8 people
Tel: +33 6 61 06 90 28

> Following the Arbéroue with a MP3 Guide – by car

For those who speak French, bring your MP3 player and follow the Arbéroue river, from La Bastide Clairence to Hélette. You will admire the remarkable beauty of the valley, learn about its rich history and hear older inhabitants share some of their recollections.

You will discover La Bastide Clairence, Ayherre, Isturitz, St Martin d'Arbéroue, St. Esteben and Hélette.

You can retrieve the MP3 guide at the Tourist Offices of La Bastide Clairence, Hasparren and the Mairie (Townhall) of Hélette.

> Baïgura near Mendionde (between Hélette and Louhoussoa)

This amusement park offers numerous activities:

- A tourist train will take you up to the top of the Baïgura – with a beautiful 360º view of the Pyrénées Mountains.
- VTT – aéro-trampoline
- Mountain scooters
- Paragliding
- Climbing and canyoning
- Mountain and countryside hiking
- Horseback riding

Tel: +(33) 5 59 37 69 05 and +(33) 6 84 78 65 09