The much-prized and picturesque village of Sare, described by author Pierre Loti in his Ramuntxo as a virtually autonomous Eden, is built around a large fronton, or backboard, where a pelota game rages around the clock. Not surprisingly, the Hôtel de Ville offers a permanent exhibition on Pelote Basque (July and Aug., daily 9–1 and 2–6:30; Sept.–June, daily 3–6). Sare was a busy smuggling hub throughout the 19th
century, but today’s visitors are drawn by lovely sights, not illicit activities: chief among them are a collection of wood-beam and whitewashed Basque houses, and the late-Romanesque church with its triple-decker interior. There are also more than a dozen tiny chapels sprinkled around Sare that were built as ex-votos by seamen who survived Atlantic storms.