Wednesday, May 24, 2017

French Basque Country

To round out our tour of the Basque Country, we popped over to Biarritz/Bayonne to have a quick look.

Biarritz was a fishing village until Napoleon's empress Eugenie turned it into a resort for royalties, which lasted less than 100 years: wars, change of social order, different whims....Today Biarritz seems in the ascendant again. We arrived in town on a balmy afternoon. The beaches were full of people, particularly surfers. It turned out that Biarritz was where surfing was originally introduced to Europe when The Sun Also Rises (1957) was being filmed on location. My airbnb landlord is a surfer; should have guessed....

The next day, we went inland to the ancient city of Bayonne, which seemed to be the antithesis of Biarritz. The city center is obviously much older, medieval, but not in very good repair. In more recent years, Bayonne had been a center for weapons manufacturing; there originated the word bayonet. It is all too easy to appreciate the difficulties in maintaining manufacturing jobs in this global economy.... In this tale of two cities, one feels acutely how fortunes change.

One more point to note: while the French Basques are not supposed to be the rabid separatists the Spanish Basque are, every official sign is in both French and Basque.

From San Sebastian, we rode the train to Irun, Spain; then switched to a bus to cross into France where the only formalities these days is a toll. ;-)
Biarritz, France

Our tiny apartment in Biarritz was just a few minutes walk from this beach which always had a throng of surfers.
Biarritz, France

Biarritz, France

Biarritz has a old Art Deco casino. Check out the big poster (left) for the upcoming World Surfing Games to be held here.
Biarritz, France

The très cool casino is on the beach.
Biarritz, France

Biarritz, France

Biarritz, France

Biarritz, France

Biarritz, France

Biarritz, France

Sunset the first day.
Biarritz, France

Biarritz, France

Surfer Vans right; beach left.
Biarritz, France

The public transport is easy and often so we bought two 24-hour bus passes and rode bus #8 over to Bayonne, arriving near the train station.
Bayonne, France

Bayonne is on the Adour and Nive rivers.
Bayonne, France

Bayonne, France

And the buildings have lots of wooden shutters.
Bayonne, France

The Art Deco Post Office.
Bayonne, France

Bayonne, France

More beach and sunset pics from Biarritz. FYI: there is more than one beach.
Biarritz, France

Biarritz, France

Biarritz, France

I rest.
Biarritz, France

Biarritz, France

How about all those surfers?
Biarritz, France

Hard cider with dinner on the apartment terrace.
Biarritz, France

Sunset.
Biarritz, France

Surf School.
Biarritz, France

Biarritz, France

Biarritz, France

Biarritz, France

Biarritz, France

Basque Independence Slogans
Slogans - Basque Country















1 comment:

Kathy said...

Nice to see the inside of the casino.