The Basque people are fiercely independent, and identify more with their Spanish Basque neighbors in many ways than they do with their French neighbors (especially in contrasting, distant cities like Paris). In fact, the Basque people still honor and speak their own Basque language.
Cities and Destinations in the Basque Country
Bayonne is an attractive city, with its timbered buildings hugging the shores of the rivers Adour and Nive. Although some areas of the city are starting to look worn, the skyline from the shore is striking. This is a great city for wandering the small streets, stopping off at a random café you pass by.
Some of the finest and most unique art of Southwest France is housed in two city museums. The city’s history and culture are prominent, and the people of Bayonne enthusiastically embrace local festivals. The entire Basque Region, both on the French and Spanish sides, is an endlessly enchanting territory. On the French side, there are several cities and villages worth visiting.
St-Jean-de-Luz is beautiful, featuring sandy beaches and a downtown with a quaint feel to it. It is one of my favorite small cities in all of Europe.
- Biarritz is an increasingly popular ocean resort just a few minutes from Bayonne.
- Pau, while a bit dreary in spots, is well situated for mountain escapades.
Basque ArchitectureThe traditional Basque house, called Extea, is one of the most unique aspects of a visit to this area. The architectural style, dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries, consists of white façades marked by dark accents.
The primary building materials are local, and the extea is constructed with a single piece.
Where to Stay in the Basque Country
You can search for hotels in the Basque Country on Venere. Here are some other resources for finding a room: