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The village of Espelette is surprisingly enough not listed as one of "Most Beautiful Villages of France" -"Plus Beaux Villages de France". It is nevertheless one of the most beautiful villages of the French Basque Country, a place where Basque architecture, local history and traditions are well preserved and in brazenly displayed.
The first mention of Espelette - Ezpeleta - comes from the 11th century when it was a lordship belonging to the Kingdom of Navarre: the castle where the town hall and the tourist office are now belongs to this period!
Espelette achieved world fame with the farming of a variety of red pepper called Espelette pepper. The pepper dried and ground produces a mildly spicy and aromatic powder highly appreciated by chefs around the world and extensively used in the Basque gastronomy.
Espelette is the birth place of Father Armand David (1826-1900) distinguished explorer, naturalist and missionary who was the first to discover the giant panda bear in Sichuan province of China.

Related article: Red Hot Espelette Pepper

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