50 YEARS OF TRAVEL EXPERIENCE
50 YEARS OF TRAVEL EXPERIENCE
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Straddling two nations on the Atlantic Coast - stretching about 100 miles from Bayonne, France, south to Bilbao, Spain - lies the ancient, free-spirited land of the Basques. The Basque Country is famous for its beaches and scintillating modern architecture…and for its feisty, industrious natives. It's also simply beautiful: Bright white chalet-style homes with deep-red and green shutters scatter across lush, rolling hills; the Pyrenees Mountains soar high above the Atlantic; and surfers and sardines share the waves. While the French side of this area seems French first and Basque second, the region has its own special spice, mingling Basque and French influences with beautiful rolling countryside and a gorgeous coastline.
Bayonne Botanical Gardens
Reserva natural de 'Plain d'Ansot'
The Musée Bonnat-Helleu is an art museum in Bayonne, France. The museum was created in 1901 when Bayonne-born painter Léon Bonnat gave his extensive personal collections of art - notably an exceptional drawing collection - as well as many of his paintings to the City of Bayonne. Subsequent donors enriched the collections of the Bonnat Museum with major gifts in 1936, 1989, 1997 and 2010, making its holdings one of the largest collections of art in southern France. The museum owns 181 works by Helleu, from a gift in 1989 and then a legacy in 2010 from Paulette Howard-Johnston, daughter of Helleu, and a legacy in 1997 from Ghislaine de Kermaingant. The Museum has been closed to the public for extensive renovation since April 2011. An architectural project intended to double the size of the museum will begin in early 2018, opening the museum at the end of 2019.
The Cathedral of Our Lady of Bayonne or Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Bayonne;, commonly known as Bayonne Cathedral, is a Roman Catholic church in the town of Bayonne, France. It is the seat of the former Bishops of Bayonne, now the Bishops of Bayonne, Lescar, and Oloron. The cathedral is in the Gothic architectural tradition. The site was previously occupied by a Romanesque cathedral that was destroyed by two fires in 1258 and 1310. Construction of the present cathedral began in the 13th century and was completed at the beginning of the 17th, except for the two spires which were not finished until the 19th century. The structure has been much restored and refurbished, notably by Émile Boeswildwald, architect to the French government in the 19th century, and a pupil of Eugène Viollet-le-Duc. The cathedral stands on the Pilgrimage Way of Santiago de Compostela.
The Jardin botanique de Bayonne is a botanical garden located in Bayonne, France. It is open Tuesday through Saturday in the warmer months; admission is free. The botanical garden was established in the late 1990s atop an existing 7-meter high bastion by Vauban, within the city's protected sector between its cathedral and ramparts, and overlooking its war memorial. It contains about 1,000 taxa arranged in 11 groupings, including bamboos, a fine collection of Japanese maples, fountain, waterfall, pond, Japanese bridge, and walkways created from recycled materials. This Japanese-inspired garden, overlooking the ramparts, features a thousand varieties of plants. It is served by free shuttle bus of the city center line at the stop number 7.
Located at the doors of Bayonne, along the river Nive, the Ansot plain is a sensitive natural area of 100 hectares. This site is a regulated area, and shelters a mosaic of natural environments (such as forest, meadows, reedbeds , creeks., etc.) where a very particular flora and wildlife blossoms. Various facilities are available to the public : the Barthes’ house, the public reception center, a picnic area, a bird observatory, etc. Visitors can also visit the Museum of Natural History of Bayonne, which hosts some very interesting scientific exhibitions. The discovery trails allow you to discover the site while having a relaxing walk, a bike ride, or even a horse ride. Many activities (such as scientific events, creative workshops, and nature outings) are also available to the public throughout the year.
Foods You Must Try in Bayonne
Jambon de Bayonne is a cured ham that takes its name from the ancient port city of Bayonnein the far South West of France, a city located in both the cultural regions of Basque Country and Gascony. Jambon de Bayonne has PGI status.
The ham is a slightly sweet, delicately flavoured meat with little salt to the taste. It is generally cut very thin and has a chewy texture in comparison to cooked hams.
A Pintxo or pincho is a small snack, typically eaten in bars, traditional in the Basque country and Navarre. They are usually eaten in taverns as a small snack and in the Basque country they are usually regarded as a cornerstone of local culture and society. As tapas, pinchos are usually 'spiked' with a skewer or toothpick, often to a piece of bread.
Marmitako (tuna pot) in Basque Country is a fish stew that was eaten on tuna fishing boats in the Cantabrian Sea. Today it is a simple dish with potatoes, onions, peppers, and tomatoes. The original French word marmite is a metal pot with lid. Today it is a popular dish, in part due to the increasing popularity of Basque cuisine, and in part because it is one of the best-known ways to prepare tuna.
Piperade is a typical Basque dish prepared with onion, green peppers, and tomatoes sautéed and flavored with red Espelette pepper. The colors coincidentally reflect the colors of the Basque flag (red, green and white). It may be served as a main course or as a side dish. Typical additions include egg, garlic or meats such as ham.
Talo is a typical food of the Basque Country, similar to the traditional corn tortilla of Mesoamerica, made of corn flour, water and a bit of salt. It is round and is cooked in a warm metal plank, named a talo burni. It can be eaten alone, with various toppings, and is also used as a wrap for various foods.
Merlu soup with asparagus and peas (merlu koskera) is a traditional soup from the Basque region of France and is made with local merlu fish, asparagus, peas and parsley. This recipe takes only 30 minutes to prepare, cook and serve. Of course, crusty bread is a perfect accompaniment.
Idiazabal is a pressed cheese made from unpasteurized sheep milk, usually from Latxa and Carranzanasheep in the Basque Country. It has a somewhat smokey flavor, but is usually un-smoked. The cheese is handmade and covered in a hard, dark brown, inedible rind. It is aged for a few months and develops a nutty, buttery flavor, eaten fresh, often with quince jam.
Gâteau Basque is a traditional dessert from the Basque region of France. Typically Gâteau Basque is constructed from layers of a wheat flour based cake (a butter-sugar pastry dough, with a filling of either almond or vanilla pastry cream, or preserved cherries. The pastry cream Gâteau Basque is more typical in the Spanish Basque Country - 'Basque Cake' in French.
Pisto is the name of a Spanish dish typical from the Region of Murcia and La Mancha. It is made of tomatoes, onions, eggplant or courgettes, green and red peppers and olive oil. It is usually served warm to accompany a dish or with a fried egg and bread. In the Basque Country, it usually has just courgettes and green peppers in tomato sauce, sometimes lightly scrambled with eggs.
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TThe Nive (Basque: Errobi, Occitan: Niva) is a French river that flows through the French Basque Country. It is a left tributary of the river Adour. The river's source in the Pyrenees in Lower Navarre. The river Nive was made famous by the Le petit Nicolas series. The Nive passes through the towns of Estérençuby (Nive de Béhérobie), Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, Bidarray, Cambo-les-Bains, Ustaritz, Villefranque and Bayonne, where it flows into the Adour.
Txakoli or Chacolí is a slightly sparkling, very dry white wine with high acidity and low alcohol content produced in the Spanish provinces of the Basque Country. It is normally served as an aperitif and drunk within one year of bottling as it cannot be stored for longer. The most common, white, variety has a pale green colour, but there are red and rosé varieties. When served, it is normally poured into tall glasses from a height, often as an accompaniment to pintxos. Txakoli is traditionally fermented in foudres (very old, large oak barrels) but most txakoli produced today is fermented in stainless steel vats.
Izarra is a sweet liqueur made in Bayonne in the French Basque Country. Four different liquids are produced: alcohol distilled with herbal flavorings; a liquid resulting from the soaking of prunes and walnut shells in armagnac; syrup of sugar and local acacia honey and several plants for the green variety. The liqueur matures for six months in barrels before it is bottled. Izarra is drunk on its own, on ice or in cocktails, frequently with gin. It can be found in chocolates and desserts. The drink is ubiquitous in the Northern Basque Country and is also found in the rest of France and parts of Europe.
Patxaran is a Basque alcohol made with berries. It’s fruity & strong! Patxaran (is a sloe-flavored liqueur commonly drunk in Navarre and the Basque Country, the Pyrenees and in Spain. It is usually served as a digestif, either chilled or on ice. Patxaran is made by soaking sloe fruits, collected from the blackthorn shrub, along with a few coffee beans and a cinnamon pod in anisette, for one to eight months. The process produces a light sweet reddish-brown liquid around 25-30% in alcohol content by volume.
Famous Waterways in Bayonne
The Adour (Basque: Aturri, Occitan: Ador) is a river in southwestern France. It rises in High-Bigorre (Pyrenees), at theCol du Tourmalet, and flows into the Atlantic Ocean (Bay of Biscay) near Bayonne. It is 324 kilometres (201 mi) long, of which the uppermost 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) as the Adour du Tourmalet. At its final stretch, i.e. on its way through Bayonne and a short extent upstream, the river draws the borderline between the Northern Basque Country andLandes regions.
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Wines & Liqueurs You Must Try In Bayonne