NovelsFamilyMedlarWorkshopMakhilaBasque Country

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Workshop

The makhilas workshop "Ainciart-Bergara" lies in the heart of the village of Larressore, beside the main road and the fronton (the wall and square where the Basque pelota is played).

U
nder the shady oaks the ancient house "Quilloteia" or "Killotegia" (from the Basque meaning spinning distaff, or stick) was once a linen weaving site, but here the Ainciart also made the makhilas. The two activities linked the Ainciart with the Bergara family and today only the makhila production remains.
The workshop may be visited everyday except Sundays and national holidays, from 9-12 a.m. and 2-6 p.m.

You may follow the various stages in the making of the makhila, using the ancient work benches, or count the medlar branches drying for years in the racks before use, and study the portrait gallery of the personalities artists, politicians and sportsmen, who received a makhila made here : Charlie Chaplin, General de Gaulle, Ronald Reagan, Prince Philip, Pape Jean-Paul II, the footballers Platini and Cantona and many others.

You will see the diploma of "Meilleur Ouvrier de France" (best French craftsman) won in 1936 for the perfect fitting of the knobs and pommels of the makhila d'honneur. You may sit and rest awhile on the Basque "zuzulu", listen to the fascinating explanations, and, of course, handle the medlar wood and try out the different makhilas.

The Ainciart-Bergara makhilas are only sold from the workshop and are not found in any retail outlets.

Access map
       
The workshop is classified in the "ateliers musee" (workshop-museum) category by the "Musée des Arts et Traditions Populaires de Paris". It also features in the beautiful book by Patrice Milleron "Artisans des Pays de France".
  

           A display of some of the tools used to make the makhila
 
        Entrance to the workshop from the fronton
  
        Charles and Nicole Bergara and all the team