La Bastide Clairence


Bastide of orality


Gonzalo Santomá

La Bastide-Clairance is located in Nouvelle-Aquitaine in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques. The organisation Clarenza administers a project based on orality, and was certified as a "Cultural Encounter Centre" in 2021.


Clarenza is located at the heart of Bastide-Clairance, and is active in several locations in the village, one of the most beautiful in France. It is home to several outstanding heritage sites, including Le Trinquet / Jeu de Paume Gartxot, the oldest active jeu de paume (‘real tennis’) court in the world, dating from 1512 and classified as a Historic Monument since 2011. The parish church of Notre Dame was consecrated in 1315 and classified in 1996 and the Jewish cemetery, classified in 1988, is over 200 years old. With their remarkable architecture and urban form, the Place des Arceaux and the rue Notre Dame were classified in 1942. La Bastide also houses several other outstanding sites, such as the Pont de Port, the wash house and the chapel (1886).



The project puts artistic creation and research at the heart of a town which features a remarkable architectural heritage alongside a thriving sense of cultural heritage. The town’s inhabitants are able to take part either as spectators or active participants. The village is working with the concept of orality to create a new model of development, and artists from all backgrounds and cultures are invited to work in this unique and exceptional setting. The village, as a physical space as well as a community, benefits both from the economic returns of the project and from an approach which, through work on its heritage as well as its cultural, social and economic development, puts people at its very heart.



The project run by Clarenza has several different strands:

- Creation: artistic experiments taking various forms and exploring the material, intangible and environmental heritage of the site.

- Diffusion: remarkable pieces of work and installations created by artists in residence.

- Education and training: bringing arts and heritage to diverse audiences, in particular amateurs and the young.

- Artists in residence.