At the confluence of the Nive and Adour rivers, close to the Atlantic Ocean, nestles Bayonne, a picturesque and lively City of Art and History. Famous for its festive atmosphere and summer events, the capital of the French Basque Country also owes its reputation to its particularly remarkable architectural heritage. Its pretty, tall houses with colourful shutters, huddled close together, are typical of the local architecture. It's a delight to stroll along the quays or old streets while contemplating the beautiful half-timbered façades that line your path...
In the centre of Old Bayonne, stop at St. Mary's Cathedral, built between the 13th and 16th centuries. A UNESCO World Heritage site on Way of St James, it has a beautiful Gothic cloister whose galleries house tombs and gravestones. Then leave this place full of serenity and head for the city fortifications, then enjoy a relaxing break as you stroll through the beautiful botanical garden, designed in a Japanese style, located within the ramparts and not far from Château-Vieux.
Then cross one of the bridges over the Nive to the Petit Bayonne district, and visit the Museum of the Basque Country and the History of Bayonne. With more than 2,000 objects and works of art on display, spread across twenty themed rooms, this ethnographic museum in the Dagourette House, dated from the late 16th century, is a must for those wishing to discover Basque culture!
A few blocks away, you can also visit the Bonnat-Helleu Museum, devoted to Fine Arts, whose collection includes works by Léon Bonnat, Paul Helleu, Peter Paul Rubens, Francisco Goya and Edgar Degas.
The social calendar in Bayonne is filled with festive events: the Bayonne ham fair at Easter, pelota competitions, bullfights in the Neo-Moorish bullring, chocolate festival on the Ascension weekend, Bayonne festival in late July... There really is something for everyone!