A family affair

The Au Milieu des Fougères estate is the product of an encounter between a family and a region, a passion for culture and an admiration for wild, natural beauty.

It was back in 1998 that Caroline and Franck Rigoux fell in love with this dilapidated dwelling that had fallen into disrepair but seemed to be calling out to them.

Ten years earlier, they had left Bordeaux, children and surfboards in tow, to settle on the Basque coast. The house in Sare became their new project: a new family member, almost. The couple would spend years restoring this wonderful farmhouse, whose majestic function-room fresco is of great artistic significance. The mural is a genuine masterpiece of early-20th-century Basque art, and the heart and soul of the house.

The Au Milieu des Fougères estate is a labour of love for an entire family: Franck, Caroline and their three children, Charles-Edouard, Pauline and Louis. 

Their promise? To pass on their love of the rich Basque culture and share their unique, unforgettable experience.

Their aim? To pay tribute to the spirit of the place and its authentic history, steeped in poetry and nobility.

The house

After the bombing of Guernica on 26 April 1937, the Basque government, exiled in Sare, created a choir and a dance group to represent the Basque Country and showcase its culture to the international community. Around a hundred singers, dancers and musicians (Luis Mariano and Placido Domingo’s mother among them) assembled at Ihartze artea to form a troupe named Erresoinka.

Their show, which subsequently toured European capitals, starting at Paris’s legendary Salle Pleyel, was rehearsed in the function room. The house was also home to artists, including Gaspar Montes Iturrioz, who produced all the frescos, including a painted logo bearing the inscription “Sarako Izarra”, the name of a recreational cultural group and the village’s first association. The frescos are a homage to the Saratars (inhabitants of Sare) who took in hundreds of refugees from the Spanish Civil War from 1937 on. They were restored in 2006.