We are just passing our last week in France and the first month of our trip Golf Around the World. On the farewell to Napoleon’s homeland we visited the northern Basque Country – a historic land located on the border of France and Spain. Although the Basques associate mainly with Spain, it is worth noting that 3 of the 7 Provinces of Basque Country are located in the south-west of France.
On the 30th of October we departed from the Mediterranean Sea in the Sete area to the other end of France, towards the Atlantic Ocean.
In the afternoon we reached the shore of the Bay of Biscay, where the sun slowly turned to the west. We stayed a few miles from Bayonne, just across the ocean. The surrounding seaside towns are the mecca of windsurfing enthusiasts, while the main capital of this sport in the region is Biarritz. As you can see, this time of year, ocean waves attract many surfers.
The first city we visited was the Bayonne River, located at the mouth of the Nive River to Adour and further to the Atlantic. Nive divides it into two parts, forming the historic center of the city – Grand Bayonne and Petit Bayonne. The modern Bayonne, along with Anglet and Biarritz form a medium-sized agglomeration, among others together with the Spanish San Sebastian called Eurocity, the largest Basque trans-national agglomeration of Spanish and French cities.
We are already at the Place de la Liberte or Liberty Square in Bayonne.
Entering Grand Bayonne, you will see Port Neuf and the Gothic Cathedral of Sainte-Marie.
The cathedral, like a large part of the French churches, is closed every day and can only be seen from the outside.
Typical buildings of the center of Bajonny are high, narrow tenements with colorful shutters.
We are already at Petit Bayonne, on a hill at Chateau-Neuf and look at the right bank of Nive. On the other side of the river are towers of the cathedral.
Walking the streets of Petit Bayonne every step we encounter inscriptions in the Basque language. It is the second most important language, right after the French. This mural depicts the Basque flag and the inscription „Herriak bizi behar du”, which can be translated as „people have to live”. Pay attention to differences between Basque and French or Spanish. It comes from a completely different family than the Indo-European languages, which we use practically throughout Europe except Basque Country and Hungary.
Due to the fact that the Bayonne is only a few kilometers from the place where we stayed, we traveled all the way biking through such a beautiful route in the forest.
On the second day we were in Biarritz. The town is located on the part of the rocky shore of the ocean. Flat sandy beaches occupy almost the entire area. Especially well-off is the centrally located Grande Plage, which stretches along the promenade full of cafes and restaurants.
About one kilometer north of Grange Plage is a 73 meter high lighthouse in Biarritz, built in 1834. It is an excellent viewpoint for the city, the Atlantic Ocean and southwestern Spain, the western Pyrenees.
The coast of Biarritz is surrounded by beautiful rocky islets. Probably for this reason, the small port is located on the south side of the coast, where it is much easier to navigate the sailors.
The holiday season is already theoretically behind us, but it does not bother residents and tourists to enjoy the charms of this place. Water temperature is up to 20 degrees Celsius and air temperature is up to 25 degrees Celsius.
In the agglomeration of Bayonne-Anglet-Biarritz the main means of public transport will soon be „trambuses” – electric articulated buses with its appearance resembling trams. Infrastructure has been underway for this project, but in the cities of the agglomeration there have been hybrids of these two modes of transport for some time now.
We are just a little further from the sea, at Place Sainte-Eugenie and we look at church named after saint of the square.
As you can see, Golf is doing well.
At the end of the week we visited the nearby city of Spain …
It is a typical tourist-leisure resort, full of hotels, restaurants and cafes. As you can see, the beginning of November is the perfect time for sunbathing and swimming in the ocean in southern France.
In the inner part of the bay, at the mouth of the river La Nivelle is a small port. We see here typical half-timbered buildings.
We have already seen the sunset over the Mediterranean, now we are watching over the Atlantic Ocean. In the distance, on the left side of the bay, is Spain.
It was our last content from France this year. According to plan, we will be back for some time in late February and March. On Monday we will be in the Spanish part of Basque.