Luke and I were here 3 weeks doing Workaway so we got to experience some French Pyrenee culture through this beautiful family and restaurant! Read about that experience here.
History of Ferme Basque:
Léon’s family came to the current location of Ferme Basque in 1911. Léon’s aunt and uncle lived in the hills and were shepherds like most people in the area at that time. They started serving customers in 1925 when Léon’s aunt had the genius idea of starting a Crêperie. Her crêpes were so good that she had a very successful business and fed many hungry hikers.
They named their home Ferme Basque because it was on the way to Cambasque (Camp Basque). This is where many Basque shepherds moved to (over 200 km away from their homes!) around 1750 to raise their sheep in this area because the quality of the grass.
The barn next to their house was built in 1870 and the house we’re staying in was built in 1936! When Léon’s father and uncle built the house, they didn’t build it on a foundation and didn’t have an architect. But the house is still here today, so it must have been built pretty well! 🙂
Fast forward-Léon was a shepherd, but with the shifting market towards tourism, he decided to open up the restaurant in 1975. It’s been alive since then, sitting above Cauterets as a must-visit for any travelers coming to the valley.
Chantal and Léon’s son, Aurelién, went to culinary school and became a professional chef so he has helped to improve the restaurant and menu even more. One of my favorite things he makes is their carrot and potato mash! So yummy. They also make an amazing Basque cake and Stinging Nettle Soup!
Les Mijotés de Léon– In 1995, they started canning meats because customers at the restaurant loved them so much they wanted to buy some for their own homes. Ferme Basque couldn’t simply sell the meat to them, so they got the proper licensing and supplies to share their artisanal products and started Les Mijotés de Léon. (Mijotés translates to Casseroles). In 2014, they started selling black pig in their shop. Black pig is a big deal around here because it’s the highest quality; even the fat is good for you! They have an amazing website that is definitely worth checking out. Sadly, they can’t ship any products to the US or Canada because the process is so complicated, but they send their products all over Europe!
Here are some links to learn more about them:
Here are some pictures of their beautiful place:
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