The Petit train de la Rhune is a cog railway at the western end of the Pyrenees. It links the Col de Saint-Ignace, some 10 km to the east of Saint-Jean-de-Luz, to the summit of the La Rhune Mountain. Located opposite the station of the cog train is a chapel dedicated to Saint Ignatius. This beautiful chapel with white walls and red roof tiles and red window frames is traditional Basque style. Inside, one can see a beautiful wooden ceiling painted in blue and grey. On a dark wooden altar rests a polychrome wooden statue of St. Ignatius. I was fortunate to arrive just before the train began operations for the day. I got a great position in line and managed to take the first trip to the summit. Although the summit lies on the border between France and Spain, the railway lies entirely within the French departement of Pyrénées-Atlantiques. The idea of building a railway to the summit of La Rhune was first proposed in 1908, and a law passed in 1912 entrusted the construction and operation to the département. Work started on the construction of the line in 1912, but was suspended during World War I. The line opened on June 30, 1924. In a referendum in 1978, the population of the nearby village of Sare rejected a proposal to build a road to the summit of the Rhune, thus enabling the railway to survive. The railway line is 4.2 km long and goes to the mountain station at 905 meters above sea level. At a rate of about 9 km per hour, it takes the train approximately 35 minutes to reach the top. Trains consist of a four-wheeled electric locomotive that pushes two coaches up the mountain, and leads them back down again. From the summit there are extraordinary views over the Bay of Biscay on one side, the Forest of the Landes, the Basque Pyrénées and, southwards, the Bidossoa Valley. Just in front of the relay tower is a monument recalling the Empress Eugénie’s ascent in 1852. After I came down from the mountain, it was time for lunch and I decided to eat nearby in the pretty mountain village of Ascain. It is characterized by its pelota court, traditional Basque houses and its 17th century church dedicated to Our Lady of the Assumption. It has three tiered galleries inside, an organ and a spectacular altar on raised stiars. Along the walls of the church are several wooden statues in polychrome as well as the remains of a 17th century crucifix. The exterior of the church is preceded by a massive belfry-porch. In front of L'Atelier Gourmand, the restaurant where I ate is the traditional pelota court. Pelota refers to any number of traditional Basque ball games that are played by hand or with a racket against a wall. For lunch, I had the boudin noir with rice and my friend had the ratatouille. For dessert, we both had a Basque cheese called Ossau-iraty served with cherry preserves. Yummy !