The Basque coast also means sandals (espadrilles), chocolate and spices, and seaside resorts renowned since the Belle-Epoque... It is a way of life, that of a people loyal to its culture and traditions. It is also the colours red and white, which are worn particularly for celebrations. And a unique language: Ongi ettori (Welcome)!
Would you rather enjoy a hot chocolate under the arches? Cocoa beans reached Europe through Bayonne in the 17th century. A historical city with a port tradition, there are many architectural curiosities to see, both Basque and Gascon. It has been classified City of Art and History, and is listed as a World Heritage Site, as part of the Way of Saint James.
To do, to see
Anglet, a paradise for nature and sport lovers, particularly surf sports! You can walk, jog and even push a pushchair along the coast. Meet at the Chambre d'Amour, a cave on the Amour beach, or in the Chiberta neighbourhood: beautiful villas and a golf course with a view over the ocean.
Dive into the waves with your surf or bodyboard! For those who are not yet initiated, you can follow a course at a surf schools. And as a spectator, watch a surf competition and enjoy the atmosphere...
Biarritz was only a small fishing village when Empress Eugénie de Montijo - wide of Napoleon III - chose it as a summer residence. Now an internationally renowned resort, Biarritz still has traces of this brilliant past. Biarritz and high society, palace of thalassotherapy and surf, is also very attached to culture, and organises events all year round.
A tip for visiting Biarritz: take a good pair of shoes and if the season is right, a swimming costume. You will be able to enjoy swimming and discover the heritage: majestic or picturesque villas, an aquarium in a typical Art-Deco building, the lighthouse, the Rocher de la Vierge... Gulp in the sea air from the sea front and the fishing port, you will find welcoming restaurant terraces where you can delight in local cuisine. Yum yum!
To do, to see
Enjoy the gentle life in this seaside resort, contemplate the sailing and fishing boats heading to the horizon, towards the fort of Socoa, or coming back into port. Saint-Jean-de-Luz is also a former Corsair city, the city where the Sun King wed the Infante of Spain, and where composer Maurice Ravel was born. Typical of the Basque coast, with traditions (pelota, chocolate, linen, etc) and more modern occupations such as the current favourite, thalassotherapy.
A visit to the town's historical centre must include the Place Louis XIV, the house of Infante Marie Teresa of Spain, the Saint-Jean-Baptiste church and its beautiful baroque alterpiece, and don't pass by a surprising Dutch house, on the other side of the port in Ciboure: it is where composer Maurice Ravel was born.
To do, to see
Take la Corniche road to head to Hendaye via Socoa. It has an incredible view of the sea and mountains.
A large beach and twin rocks, a marina at the mouth of river Bidassoa, which marks the border with Spain, and which you can cross by boat. Here you are in Hendaye, a family friendly seaside resort, but not only!
Climb up to the Domaine d'Abbadia, the observatory castle built by Viollet-Leduc in a neo-gothic style for his friend, the scientist Antoine d'Abbadie in the mid-19th century. Facing the ocean, this nature reserve is a great place to explore, and often inspires resident artists.
Enjoy the benefits of the ocean, and be pampered during a thalassotherapy session in one of the centres on the Atlantic coast.