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Ramuntcho (1897) is a novel by French author Pierre Loti. It is a love and adventure story about contraband runners in the Basque province of France. It is one of Loti's best and most popular stories, with four French film adaptations.


Characters and places

The novel is notable for its documentary description of French Basque culture.


  • Ramuntcho. The bastard son of Franchita (father unknown), he struggles to be an accepted member of Basque society in the village of Etchezar. An accomplished pelota player and smuggler.
  • Franchita. Mother of Ramuntcho, she has a mysterious and possibly scandalous past.
  • Ignatio. Franchita's oldest brother (Ramuntcho's uncle) who lives in the Americas.
  • Gracieuse Detcharry (also Gatchutcha and Mary Angelique). Ramuntcho's beautiful blonde girlfriend.
  • Dolores Detcharry. Gracieuse's mother.
  • Arrochkoa Detcharry. Brother of Gracieuse. Friend of Ramuntcho, accomplished pelota player and smuggler.
  • Pantchika Daraignaratz. Blonde girl engaged to Arrochkoa. Mother is "Madame."
  • Olhagarray. Cousins of Madame Daraignaratz who live in Erribiague.
  • Itchola. Leader of the band of smugglers, he is older and hardened.
  • Florentiono. Ramuntcho's friend and fellow smuggler. Red hair.
  • Marcos and Joachim Iragola. Two brothers who are renowned singers and lyricists. Members of the band of smugglers.
  • Jose Bidegarray, mysterious stranger who brings tidings from Ignatio in the Americas.

Places and things

  • Etchezar. Town in Basque France where the story mainly takes place.
  • Bidasoa river that separates Spain and France. The smugglers often cross it at night.
  • Gizune Mountain that dominates the landscape of Etchezar.
  • Erribiague, a neighboring village higher up the mountain and more primitive.
  • Amezqueta, a distant village where the nunnery is located.
  • Pelota, an ancient Basque game played with a ball and wicker glove against the side of a church wall.
  • Kalsomine, a white-wash used to cover stone buildings and walls.
  • Mantilla, a head-dress often worn by Basque women.
  • Fandango, a favorite Basque dance with castanets.

Screen adaptations

  • Ramuntcho (1918 film), short silent french subject by Jacques de Baroncelli.
  • Ramuntcho (1937 film), french film by René Barberis.
  • Le Mariage de Ramuntcho, a 1947 french film by Max de Vaucorbeil.
  • Ramuntcho (1959 film), french film by Pierre Schoendoerffer.

External links


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