Saint-Jean-de-Luz, maybe one of the most beautiful harbours of France
For a weekend or a holiday, for two, with friends or family, Saint-Jean-de-Luz is an authentic town with a wealthy past. This Basque harbour town is attractive, harmonious, beautiful, colourful and offers a traditional sailor’s atmosphere. This fisherman’s harbour, set between Biarritz and the Spanish border, is located along the Atlantic Coast, offering the charm of the Basque country as well as beautiful beaches for a seaside holiday. The town is set between the mountains and the sea and forms the most typical town of the Basque coast. Near Spain, this lovely town invites you to discover the picturesque harbour, the lovely beaches, the surf spots, and the Basque traditions.
The town used to be an important place for wale fishing. Today, the fishing of hake, tuna, sardine and anchovy is practised here.
Over the centuries, the town has become a popular beach resort, but it managed to preserve its traditions. Saint-Jean-de-Luz has a rich heritage but also offers various activities. You can also enjoy a stroll on the beach or over the coastal path, or a moment of wellness in one of the thalasso therapy centres.
The town centre is partly accessible to pedestrians only, allowing you to stroll around in all serenity. It is also the ideal starting point to discover the Basque country. You’ll be surprised by the exceptional environment, the towns nearby like Biarritz and Bayonne, but also the countryside with typical villages that are listed as most beautiful villages of France, like Sare, Aïnhoa, etc.
To discover in Saint-Jean-de-Luz:
In Saint-Jean-de-Luz you can find various features of the Basque country: dancing, songs but also gastronomy. These are not really folkloric features, but they are cultural, just like the Basque pelote game.
Saint-Jean-de-Luz, with a rich past, tells the story of the marriage of Louis XIV through its history and heritage. You can visit the Maison Louis XIV and the Maison de l’Infante.
Saint-Jean-de-Luz also offers various beaches, ideal for families, watersports or nature lovers. In this charming town, you’ll be spoilt with choice.
The golf courses and the thalasso therapy centres across the bay of Saint-Jean-de-Luz are definitely worth a visit, for a relaxing wellness moment with family or for two.
Also discover the coastal path. Saint-Jean-de-Luz is one of the starting points of the coastal path that joins Bidart and Hendaye. For a walk through nature, you’ll find the Pointe de Sainte-Barbe, at the beginning of the bay of Saint-Jean-de-Luz, on the northern side. A stroll along the former fortified coastal path of the Pointe Sainte Barbe will offer you a complete view over the bay of Saint-Jean-de-Luz, the Pyrenees and the Fort de Socoa.
You can also stroll around the Rue Gambetta and discover the typical architecture of the Basque country, the harbour, the artists and terraces of the Place de Louis XIV, but also the Saint Jean Baptiste church. Enjoy the exceptional view on the bay and the Basque coast during a long walk along the coast and the Tour de Sainte Barbara.
In Saint-Jean-de-Luz, you’ll be surprised by the lovely streets and typical houses with various colours. Discover the various monuments and museums. During your visit to Saint-Jean-de-Luz, you can also participate in different festivals.
You can visit the Park Ducontenia, an oasis of green of 3 000 m², set in the middle of town, that also has a cultural destination. The nature theatre offers 3400 seats. The Casino de la Pergola near the beach is definitely worth a visit, to admire this art-deco masterwork of Mallet Stevens.
To visit in Saint-Jean-de-Luz
Saint-Jean-de-Luz was long called the corsair town. Therefore, it was known for its sailor’s traditions from the 16th century and for its privateers from the 17th century. In Saint-Jean-de-Luz, various museums and monuments are absolutely worth a visit, such as:
• the musée de la tradition basque that unites Basque culture and traditions. This is a museographic centre that takes its visitors to the heart of the Basque traditions and the way of life of the people living in the region.
• The écomusée Jean Vier was founded in 1999 by the company Jean Vier, specialist in Basque linen. Here you’ll find ten rooms with films, including two in 3D, about the exceptional Basque country. Around the eco museum, you’ll find a well-kept park, the boutique Jean Vier and a restaurant.
• The maison Louis XIV was built in 1643by a rich ship-owner. Elegance is the best word to describe the front of this house that welcomed Louis XIV for his marriage with the Infant of Spain.
• The Saint-Jean-Baptiste church is an important monument of Saint-Jean-de-Luz. It is dedicated to John the Baptist, the patron saint of the town. This is where Louis XIV and Maria Theresia of Spain wedded in 1660. The outer aspect of the church is sober, with an impressive tower and high walls that stand in contrast with the fineness of the wooden galleries and the vault. It is one of the best known churches of the Basque country.