Sare caves: an empress strolling along and a story about laminak

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The entrance - ©Harrieta171 / CC-BY-SA The entrance - ©Harrieta171 / CC-BY-SA
Sare caves Natural cavity Prosper Mérimée Eugénie de Montijo Legend

The empress’ stroll

The caves of Sare is also known as Lezea (″cave″ in basque). It was dug in hard limestone, with karstic holes formed as time went by. Sare has got 5 caves, but we can only visit the Lezea one.

Men especially frequented the cave in the Perigordian era, in the beginning of the Superior Paleolithic (between 32000 BC and 20000 BC). The famous French historian Prosper Mérimée described the cave for the first time in 1865. He was so amazed! He said that it was the ″most beautiful cave, a cave like we can only see in stage set″.

Empress Eugenia sojourned in Biarritz in September 1866. She also visited the caves! Mérimée was with her. He wrote about that: ″We were led by an odd man, a kind of smuggler. He was the king of those mountains and every men were at his service.

He simply ran in middle of the rocks while we made slow progress. He get over every obstacles. The empress told him to keep an eye on the Imperial Prince: he let him go first, with his pony, by the most horrible roads, taking care of him like a vulgar bundle of prohibited goods.″

The cave’s creature

Hey, in the cave the legend says there’s a laminak… do you know what’s this? A spirit, typically Basque, a kind of dwarf who’s hiding in the caves and woods. Very hairy, always on the lookout, he had one name: Guillen (Guillaume, ″William″).

He only get out of the cave at night and raised huge bridges and giant castles. As a payment, the laminak asked humans some fried méture (a kind of corn bread). Hey, if you see one laminak, send us a postcard!

Caves visit

The visit lasts 1 hour, guided by a son et lumière. The cave's museum displays the digs’ finds: flints, funerary urns, side scrapers…


And also!