The French Basque Country is a charming, unique region with its own flag, language and culture. Composed of three main provinces, it's located at the Spanish border, with four remaining Basque provinces located in Spain. Here are 8 good reasons to see this stunning area for yourself!
Looking for a nice, refreshing swim in the Atlantic Ocean? Biarritz's beach is the perfect spot, and it's considered by many to be one of the most beautiful beaches in France! If you're looking to relax, the Plage du Port Vieux, a small part of the beach located just next to some giant rocks, is the place to go. For those who enjoy water activities, Biarritz Beach is famous for its surfing, and you can even take surfing classes with professionals.
The Bayonne Festival or Fêtes de Bayonne
One of the French Basque Country's iconic festivals starts each year at the end of July in the city of Bayonne. In keeping with the festival's tradition, all the participants wear white clothes and red accessories for five entire days of fun. Festivities include traditional dances, music performances, concerts, food stalls and drinks all over town, as well as bull running and fireworks. If you're keen on participating in a huge five-day party with over 1 million people and discover more about Basque culture, the Bayonne Festival is unmissable!
Basque cuisine is generally known for being tasty and rich. There are ample opportunities to taste the famous poulet Basquaise (Basque chicken), which is cooked with traditional piperade: a dish made of tomatoes, onions, peppers and chilli. Basque cuisine is generally composed of recipes that include locally grown vegetables, meat, fish, and Basque desserts such as the famous gâteau Basque, a cake stuffed with cherries or cream. If you visit the city of Bayonne, make sure to taste its ham, the world famous jambon de Bayonne. The Basque Country is a true heaven for lovers of fine food!
The traditional houses
Part of the French Basque Country's cultural heritage, these traditional houses add an authentic and original vibe to villages and towns. Called etxe in the Basque language, these typical houses are more than just buildings; they represent the soul of the region. Their bright white and red exteriors often share similar characteristics and are a true point of pride for their owners. Visitors are welcome to stroll around the villages and admire these symbols of culture, but it's also possible to stay at one of them or rent an entire house to live the full Basque experience.
Hiking is common and popular in the French Basque Country. Both locals and visitors take advantage of the beautiful nature that the region offers. Hikers particularly enjoy an allegedly sacred mountain called Larrun (La Rhune). The most adventurous can climb to the top and have a breathtaking panoramic view of the region. For those who want to experience the view without getting tired, a lovely train can carry you to the top of Larrun for less than £10.