Salies de Béarn market is a must visit.
It takes place every Thursday and is a great place for fresh vegetables, fruit and other local produce plus numerous interesting items for sale.
Take the D30 and D936 to Navarrenx,
an attractive walled town on the banks of a fast flowing salmon river. You will find ruins to explore, pleasant galleries and pavement cafes, plus a children's park.
St-Jean-de-Luz is a lovely, lively fishing port just south of Biarritz,
almost on the Spanish border. Cosmopolitan shops, bars and restaurants (L'Artha serves good food, great sea views and welcomes children). There is a very pleasant tree lined square with artists painting and selling their work, as well as a large sandy beach and small park on the seafront -both popular with children.
Take tea or coffee in Salies de Béarn at the elegant Salon du Thé,
next to the Bar du Temple, opposite the 'antique shop'. It is very civilized and relaxing, and the owners are very pleasant.
Visit the Grotte d'Oxocellhaya et d'Isturits,
near Hasparren - interesting caves, guided tours but wear appropriate clothing as they are cold all year round, as well as slippery and rough underfoot!
The 'Chez Maria' restaurant at Peyrehorade,
just off the N117, has a good reputation and is pleasantly situated by the river with a small 'beach area'.
A short cable car ride at Artouste,
D934 from Pau, takes you to the Train Touristique du Lac d'Artouste which gives you a circular train ride through the high Pyrénées - spectacular scenery and snow present for much of the year.
Cross the border into San Sebastian
for a sample of Spanish architecture, food and social influence.
Visit the thermal baths in Salies de Béarn
for a whole menu of relaxing, pampering and therapeutic treatments in a traditional environment.
The lovely city of Bayonne is worth a visit,
lively and busy, just inland on an estuary. There are lots of good restaurants and bars along the river plus all of the attractions of a historically important commercial centre. Follow the A64 or for a more relaxed take the N117.
The 'Fandango' restaurant in Salies de Béarn
(heading out of town passing the Casino on your left) provides simple, relaxed and fun eating in pleasant surroundings. Try individually barbecuing your own meat. The owners and staff are friendly and welcome children.
Urt is a small, typically French, village
just off the A64 towards Bayonne. There is a nice restaurant with tables set out under vines, local bars and riverside walks. You may even come across the occasional small fair.
The lively and stylish town of Biarritz
has many shops, restaurants and bars and has retained much of its elegance. There are great views of the sea and marina from many vantage points around the town.
nearby on the D933, is a historically interesting small town with a castle overlooking the fast flowing river. Have a picnic on the riverbank or try white water rafting which is available in the area.
Slightly further afield, past Navarrenx, is the ski resort of La Pierre St Martin.
Understandably deserted in summer, other than a very pleasant and authentic 'refuge' which is a great place for a cold beer or lunch with locals. It is an Interesting area as it is on the N10, 'Pilgrims Walk', with great views and scenery plus you can drive, or walk, down into Spain.
Nearby is the town of Orthez,
with its unusual and stunning 'castellated' bridge. This is a pleasant and historically important place - Wellington stayed here and is remembered favourably.
Anglet Beach, near Biarritz,
is a large sandy beach with lifeguards and many amenities. Parking can be tricky in high summer so patience is required but worth persistence. It is a great location for experienced surfers or even if you just want to try it out!
Pau, approximately 45 minutes away,
is a large cosmopolitan city with excellent shopping and all facilities. It is particularly pleasant around the old town near the Château with great views to the Pyrénées and up-market shopping. Park for free in the large, tree ringed, centre square car park.
Close to the Spanish border, on the D933, is the historic, medieval town of St Jean Pied de Port.
This walled town with its cobbled streets, quaint shops, cafes and a lovely church is full of history being on an important 'pilgrims route'.
Closer to home,
one of the best things to do is to sit on the grass bank at Maison Clucque and admire the view across the valley to the foothills of the Pyrénées. Watching the sunset here whilst listening to the distant cowbells is particularly pleasant and relaxing.
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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