To the south of Léon – Saint Michel Escalus, discover the Basque Country, a traditional country with a strong personality, where the inhabitants welcome you warmly.
For your next vacation in the Landes department, let yourself be tempted by a visit to the Basque Country and its surroundings.
The Basque Country is home to the oldest ethnic group in Europe, the Basques. Objects found during archaeological excavations that the history of the Basque Country began in Prehistory when the caves of Oxocelhaya and Isturitz served as shelters for the Basque people.
Around 600 BC, the Celts trained the Basque people in bronze and leather work, leading to an evolution in their traditions and ways of proceeding in everyday life.
Alternately invaded by the Romans, the Visigoths, the Franks and the Muslims, the Basques united and founded the Kingdom of Navarre around the middle of the 12th century to defend themselves against the invaders.
Nowadays, traditions and customs are still strongly anchored in this country with a strong independence tendency.
The Basque Country is a region with a strong identity and an extraordinary cultural heritage. While staying on the Atlantic coast at the gates of the Basque Country, do not miss a visit to Bayonne, which embodies this identity. The ferias of August are a must in the region. Just next door, Biarritz, a famous surf spot, is also a city full of charm with a remarkable architectural heritage. Going down the coast towards Spain, you can visit the charming villages of Guéthary and Ciboure. The port of Saint-Jean-de-Luz, with its mixed air of Basque village and royal resort, is a destination not to be missed. Further south still, on the Spanish border at the mouth of the Bidasoa, awaits you the town of Hendaye and its preserved ledge. We fall under the spell of its imperial villas and its exceptional natural setting. In the hinterland, the typical villages of Espelette or Itxassou allow you to discover Basque culture better than anywhere else. Not far away, also visit the remarkable villages of La-Bastide-Clairence, Sare, Ascain, and Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port.
If you want to explore the Basque Country, start with the historic old town of Bayonne, and its 3000 m2 Basque museum in the heart of the old center. In Biarritz, stroll along the pier to admire the lighthouse and the emblematic Rocher de la Vierge, and don't miss a visit to the incredible Cité de l'Océan, an interactive museum with the latest generation 3D simulations. Between Bayonne and Hendaye, the French Basque coast is full of charming sites to visit, including the corsair city of Ciboure, the wedding town of Louis XIV Saint-Jean-de-Luz, and the old fishing village Guéthary. If you go down to Hendaye, do not miss to visit the astonishing castle-observatory of Abbadie perched on the Corniche, whose extravagant architecture we owe to Viollet-le-Duc. All you have to do is cross the Bidassoa by river shuttle to find yourself in the port of Hondarribia in Spain. Inland, between the Landes and the Pyrenees, the Basque countryside also has a lot to offer. The pepper house in Espelette makes you discover this emblematic culture of the village and the Basque culture. The little Rhune train offers you a unique trip to the first mountains of the Pyrenees. The cities classified as "the most beautiful villages in France", La Bastide-Clairence, Sare, Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, and Ainhoa, are also worth a detour in the hinterland.