What to do in the Pyrenees and Spain during your holiday?

Accueil » Things to see and do in the Pyrenees and Spain

Cross the river Adour that marks the boundary between Landes and Pyrénées-Atlantiques, just south of Soustons, and prepare for some original encounters in Béarn or the Basque country. Here you’re at the gateway to Spain, between the Atlantic Ocean and the Pyrenees, between a royal town and a land of fabulous local produce.

Be they pilgrims on the Way of St James, herdspeople of Béarn, fishermen from Saint-Jean-de-Luz, producers of Ossau-Iraty cheese or pelota players, the local people invite you to discover a region that’s truly unique.

Bearn and the Basque country

Béarn and the Basque country offer a fabulous mix of invigorating fresh air, ocean waves, a whole density of curiosities to visit or to taste, and a host of activities to keep you entertained throughout your holiday. A walk along the Boulevard des Pyrénées in Pau, a panoramic view from the top of La Rhune, fishing history at the old port, festivities in red and white, tastings of chipirons (small squid), local hams, gâteau basque, chili peppers and other Basque specialities are experiences you’ll never forget. All washed down with famous wines ranging from the “vigorous” Madiran to the “seductive” Jurançon, not forgetting the Basque country’s Irouléguy wines.


The historic city of Bayonne is a must-see that’s full of character. Just like the Basque country of which it is the economic capital! A land where red-and-white houses cling to lush green hillsides, and the ocean beckons you on a journey. An oceanside land of contrasts, the Basque country is still “that corner of France where happiness flourishes, where the joys of heaven can be experienced in advance” , as imagined by Luis Mariano, the prince of light who sang the region’s praises. He whose greatest declaration was to Bayonne, the city for which he wrote a song, “Bayonne mon amour”: Bayonne is calling you, rise to the occasion!


As for Biarritz, this is one of the most famous beach resorts on the Atlantic coast. This town neighbouring Bayonne and Saint-Jean-de-Luz is a hotspot for boardsport enthusiasts. It is also a choice destination for thalassotherapy breaks and golfing events. Biarritz features a few key attractions, including the Rocher de la Vierge, the Maritime Museum and the lighthouse. Accustomed to hosting prestigious visitors, this superb town has retained its hospitality traditions, with luxury hotels, boutique hotels, elegant shops and even a casino.


Saint-Jean-de-Luz is close to Biarritz, Bayonne and the Spanish border. Here you can visit the church where the Sun King married Marie-Theresa in 1660, as well as the house where they spent their wedding night. Along the edge of the beach, not far from the fishing port, stand the noble private mansions, the former homes of ship-owners, and villas of neo-Basque style. Most of the streets are pedestrianised. This is heaven for shopping fans. In the colourful little shops you can find anything from the latest fashion items to traditional art & craft pieces. On Place Louis XIV, artists exhibit their paintings around the bandstand. It isn’t rare to sip an aperitif or coffee to the sound of a Basque choir.

Treasures of the Bordeaux region

Again in the Aquitaine region, a 1½-hour drive north from Soustons, go exploring the Bordeaux region. Every architectural style and period is represented here, with Gallo-Roman remains, Romanesque churches, châteaux, medieval castles and 19th-century beach resorts that rub shoulders with more contemporary constructions such as the Frugès estate of Pessac, designed by Le Corbusier, and the very futuristic high court of Bordeaux.

To explore the built heritage of Gironde you absolutely must visit the UNESCO World Heritage city of Bordeaux, which enjoys the privilege of boasting the largest protected area and the largest 18th-century facade of neoclassical style in the whole of Europe.

For 2000 years, the history of Gironde has been closely linked to that of its vineyards. The very first vine stocks were planted in the Graves area during the 1st century CE. Nowadays, the results are indisputable! An advantageous climate and soils conducive to the cultivation of vines have thus made Gironde a dream destination for wine enthusiasts. This world-unique winegrowing region also distinguishes itself by its huge diversity of wines and soils: grand cru wines that are famous across the world, characteristic, fresh and fruity reds, rosés, whites and sparkling wines, as well as spirits, liqueurs, etc. There’s something to suit every taste!

Euskadi, the Spanish Basque country

To round off your visit to our South West region of France, it’s worth taking the time to go over the border. Bounded by the oceanic Bay of Biscay, the Spanish basque country reveals another facet of Spain. From the snow-covered summits of the Pyrenees to the lush green hills, unfurls a succession of towns with a prestigious past, such as San Sebastian, Bilbao and Santander. Must-see beautiful sights!

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