With a Basque country straddling the Western Pyrenees, you will understand that smuggling could once made some small mountain winds flourish on the Franco-Spanish border. Then only accessible by mule tracks, one went up to fill up foodstuffs and other necessities with less expenses.
Since then, things have changed. Now that they are located on the street or on the col (d'Ibardin), these frontier establishments have taken advantage of our faith in the consumer society to develop. For some of them, the grocery store has even turned into a supermarket mastodon! Still, a certain atmosphere remains and the charm sometimes operates, here and there ...
If we continue to come to the ventas, it is above all to do business there. Although taxation, standard of living and prices tend to move closer to the Pyrenees, the "South" is even cheaper. On the parking, caddies filled with bottles and victuals of all kinds seem to confirm this.
From food to gasoline, to leather goods or perfumery, you will find everything in the ventas!
What is there?
Of all ! Meat: the unmissable txuleta-beef steak, the exquisite paletilla of cordero-shoulder of lamb, the delicious ham -serrano and especially iberico (bellota in the head!), Chorizo for aperitif, lomo and Txistorra for la plancha, turrón for dessert (confectionery made with honey, sugar, almonds) ... But also cheese (ewes, refined or curds), peppers, preserves and jars of various contents (ceps, Asparagus, belly of tuna, chickpeas ...), the famous sauces vinegar Xipister, alcohol ...
Besides the pleasures of the palate, you will find tobacco, gasoline, clothes, perfumes, handbags, jewelery, paella stoves, knives and sabers ... Not to mention the famous souvenir gifts, kitsch will say some or vintage: dishes with floral patterns, skins of spotted or zebra beasts, swords and other medieval armor, panoplies dress flamenco, old dolls ... Diversity of products and therefore establishments: grocery stores, supermarkets, bars Tapas, cafeterias, restaurants, clothes shops and even discotheques!
Irun-Béhobie, Irun-Ficoba, Ibardin and Dancharia: here are the main ventas, accessible from Hendaye, Urrugne and Ainhoa. Some allow to combine shopping, restoration and nice strolls, it is the case with the neck of Ibardin with the excursion of the lake of Xoldokogaina. Other ventas smaller or even lonely are to be discovered as the Venta Berrouet and that of the pass of Lizarrieta (both from Sare); You'll find even at the top of the Rhune! Or that you are, as soon as you approach the border, watch the signs ...
Tabac, alcool : Remain in the allowed quantities !
These limits are defined as individual means of transport or per person over 17 years using public transport:
- tabac : 4 cartons of cigarettes, 1 kg of rolling tobacco, 200 cigars, 400 cigarillos.
- alcool : 10 l of spirits (whiskey, gin, vodka, etc.), 20 l of intermediates (port, Madeira, etc.), 90 l of wine (including 60 l of sparkling wine), 110 l of beer.
Beyond that, French customs can consider your purchases as commercial and punish you: fine, consumption rights (or confiscation of goods), even seizure of the vehicle, imprisonment ...
Alcohol abuse is dangerous for your health, to consume in moderation.
Smoking seriously damages your health and that of your surroundings.