Enjoy a game of table tennis,
or croquet, or badminton - there are plenty of options at Maison Capdevielle. Alternatively, take a dip in the pool and laze around sunbathing.
Go for a drive through the pretty undulating countryside surrounding Maison Capdevielle
and discover the little villages that are dotted around.
Tuesday is market day in Orthez.
Go early and shop like the French do. Visiting a French market is a great experience - stalls laden with produce, tempting smells fill the air, the noise of the locals discussing which piece of meat is the best&&
Spend a day in Biarritz (under 1hr's drive).
Go first to the lighthouse for a panoramic view of the Bay and the Casino, and then take Le Petit Train from the Rock of the Virgin for an easy tour of the town. There are various places to park, all well signposted. Biarritz has an Aquarium, Museum of Chocolate and also a Museum of Oriental Art, and for the shoppers, there are some tempting designer shops on the road near the Casino.
Biarritz is popular with the surfers as well.
Watch them tackle the waves from the lovely beach in the centre of Biarritz or have a go yourself. There are quite a few companies who will teach you (ask at the tourist office). This year, the Grand International Women's Surfing Festival takes place from 1st to 8th July.
Ask at the local tourist office for any festivals/fetes that are taking place in the area.
Most villages will celebrate something during the summer. 21st June is Fete de la Musique, 14th July is Bastille Day, 15th August is Assumption Day - there are often good firework displays on these days.
Visit the pretty seaside town of St Jean de Luz and enjoy the wide expanse of beach,
attractive little shops, galleries and restaurants. Since St Jean also has a fishing port as well as a marina, this is the place to eat if you like fresh 'fruits de mer' (seafood). On Sundays, local bands sometimes put on entertainment for visitors at lunchtime (the bandstand is in the square beyond the marina). This is one of the towns the French themselves love to visit, so get there early to park. Follow the scenic road along the coast and down to Hendaye, for another large and beautiful beach, popular with surfers.
At Salies de Béarn,
you can visit the thermal baths which are open to the public. A lovely way to relax, especially while the golfers are taking their exercise on the local course.
on 11th July 2006 and you will be part of the crowd coming to witness a 'stage' of one of the most amazing sporting events in the world, the Tour de France.
Enjoy the beaches along the Côte d'Argent,
all 106 km of them! Undulating sand dunes, wide expanses of beach, are backed by pine forests and punctuated by lakes. Hossegor and Capbreton are worth a visit and quite easy to get to.
Course landaise is an ancient game from the Aquitaine region,
a type of bull fighting in which they use Landaise cows BUT they do not harm the animals. The aim of the game is to jump over the charging cows. The human participants are very skilful, as it is difficult and dangerous, and very acrobatic! Worth going to see - events take place throughout the year in towns such as Dax, Mont de Marsan, Capbreton, Hossegor, Orthez.
Have a lazy day at home and spend it around the pool,
reading the novels you have always meant to read but haven't got around to! If you feel like some exercise, take a stroll along the little country lanes.
Go abroad for the day!
Use the excellent motorways and 1hr ¼ later you will have crossed the border into Spain and be in San Sebastian for some Spanish food and culture.
The historic city of Pau is only half an hour's drive away,
(or you could take the train from Orthez). It has been described as a trip to a "huge castle" (with shops). Here you can discover nine centuries of French history. The castle itself has one of the biggest and most beautiful collections of tapestries outside Paris.
Drive over the border to Pampluna, (with or without the bull run) - and soak up the sun with a mid morning coffee in the old town, whilst people watching - Spanish style. Then drive back via St Jean de Pied Port for some amazing mountain views - even stopping overnight in a Logis de France in the mountains.
For something completely different, visit the 'Grottes de Betharram'
near Pau. A bus takes you up to the entrance to the caves, where you will take a train through the mountain to a large cavern with a lake, which is then crossed by boat. The caves are spectacular and are considered to some of the most beautiful in the world. Don't forget to take a jacket with you, as it can be cool in the caves, even in the height of summer.
If you would like to have a mountain top view of the beautiful Basque region,
follow the signs from St Jean de Luz for 'Le Petit Train de La Rhun'. This funicular railway takes you up the side of a mountain, but it's very popular so either plan this for the beginning of the day or for later in the afternoon.
(1 hr by car) on a Tuesday or Saturday morning and wander through its market. The Marché Saint Roch has been classed as one of the '100 Most Beautiful Markets in France' so well worth a visit.
The French Basque towns are famous for the game of pelote, a court sport played against a wall with a ball, and a basket racket. Imagine squash with a basket on your hand and a ball that travels the speed of Michael Schumacher! Competition starts up in the autumn and you can catch the game being played in towns such as Biarritz, Anglet, Dax, Bayonne, St Jean de Luz, Capbreton, Hossegor and Bidart. For this and other activities in the area, go to www.cote-sorties.com and click on the 'sport' heading.
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