E.T. L., 19th Century
Travellers in the Pas de Roland Gorge Pays Basque France 1878

inscribed signed with monogram and dated " Pas de Roland E.T.L. 1878"

pencil and watercolour
22.50 x 15 cm.


In the town of Itxassou in the Basque Country stands this natural curiosity, called " Pas de Roland " located in a gorge carved by the Nive. Itxassou is a rural village that is both typical and strong in its many peculiarities . The village conceals treasures, perhaps its black cherries but also a rich historical heritage. Crossed by the tumultuous waters of the Nive, the village offers landscapes of green plains and valleys, rocky facades and mountains giving it a particular and unique character.

Not far from the towns of Cambo-les-Bains, Espelette or even Bidarray, the small rural village of Itxassou is the starting point of this essential walk of nearly 3km. Very popular with walkers and lovers of hiking, this easy walk is accessible to all due to its low vertical drop. Bordering the Nive, the paved road allows people with reduced mobility and toddlers in strollers to fully enjoy the beauty of the landscapes of the gorge enclosed in the valley.After a little less than 2km of walking, you will discover the "Pas de Roland" which marks the point of return. This cavity dug into the rock by the water has several legends relating to Roland.

Roland was the nephew of Charlemagne, born 734 and died in 778. Roland is said to have died during a clash in Roncesvalles in the Basque Country. And what do the legends say: The first legend mentions a hoof kick from Roland's horse which would have dug this cavity. The second would be the work of Roland himself who would have dug the rock thanks to Durandal his sword. Legendary myth or natural subsidence enlarged by man to pass a mule track, nobody knows, only one thing is certain… The mystery remains.