In the South of Léon – saint Michel Escalus, discover the Basque Country, the traditional country to strong personality, where the inhabitants welcome you warmly.
The Basque Country accommodates the oldest ethnic group of Europe, the Basques. Items of lost property during archaeological excavations that the History of the Basque Country began from the Prehistory when the caves of Oxocelhaya and Isturitz were of use as shelters to the Basque people.
Near 600 BC, the Celtic trained the Basque people in the work of the bronze and the leather pulling with them, an evolution of their traditions and manners to proceed in the daily life.
Alternately invaded by Romain, the Visigoths, Francs and the Muslims, the Basque unite and establish the Navarre’s Kingdom by the middle of the XIIth century to defend itself in front of invaders.
Nowadays, the traditions and the customs are always strongly anchored in this country with strong separa-tist.
Visit the Basque Country
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 to visit Bayonne, which embodies this identity. The ferias of August are a must in the region. Next door, Biarritz, famous surf spot, is also a charming city with 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 mix of Basque village and royal holiday resort, is a destination not to be missed. Further south, on the Spanish border on the mouth of the Bidassoa, await you the city of Hendaye and its preserved cornice. One falls under the spell of its imperial villas and its exceptional natural setting. In the hinterland, the typical villages of Espelette or Itxassou make you discover Basque culture better than elsewhere. Not far, also visit the remarkable villages of La Bastide-Clairence, Sare, Ascain, and Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port.
Tourist outings in the Basque Country on vacation
If you want to explore the Basque Country, start with the historic old town of Bayonne, and its Basque museum of 3000 m2 in the heart of the old center. In Biarritz, take a stroll on the pier to admire the lighthouse and the emblematic Rocher de la Vierge, and do not miss to visit the incredible Cité de l’Océan interactive museum with the latest 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 city of Louis XIV Saint-Jean-de-Luz, and the former fishing village Guéthary. If you go down to Hendaye, do not miss to visit the amazing castle-observatory of Abbadie perched on the Corniche, which one owes the extravagant architecture to Viollet-le-Duc. All you have to do is take 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 house of pepper in Espelette makes you discover this emblematic culture of the village and the Basque culture. The little Rhune train offers you a unique trip on the first mountains of the Pyrenees. The cities classified as “most beautiful villages of France”, La Bastide-Clairence, Sare, Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, and Ainhoa, also deserve a detour in the hinterland.