Last year we met in La Rochelle. We decided there and then that it could be a yearly event. We decided on Biarritz in the South West of the country. Two out of the three do not know the place and area. One owns an apartment there so it seemed obvious we should choose this place for this year’s reunion.
Quite an early start to catch my train to Bordeaux. It is a beautiful day and the 10’ walk to the station is quite pleasant.
Unfortunately, there is a 25 minutes delay for the train. Nothing I can do about it. Once I am on the train, I might as well relax and work on my blog.
Despite the delay, I arrive just in time to see the train from Paris arriving in Bordeaux. My friend CC is on that train and we can have make the rest of the journey to Biarritz together.
We arrive in Biarritz with approximately 20′ delay. The reason “La Canicule” / “Hot Weather”. Apparently the trains have to slow down drastically. I need to investigate this and compare with our neighbour countries how they cope with similar conditions. From the train station we take a bus to the town centre. This is a 20′ minutes ride mostly downhill.
PG is here to greet us at the bus terminal. His apartment is only a couple of minutes away and we settle in rapidly whilst catching up on each other’s news.
Then we are off for a first tour of the town
On the way home after this 1st walk, a stop at Le Georges pub is a must for a well deserved refreshing drink.
The evening apéritif is enjoyed at the terrasse of a bar/restaurant overlooking a small but pleasant beach. That beach is quite interesting because it is where the club of “Les Ours Blancs” / “White Bears” meet. The main activity of the White Bears is of course bathing in all weathers, from January 1st to December 31st. One has to say that the average age of the members is fairly advanced.
Our first dinner, like last year in La Rochelle, is in a Ragazzi Da Peppone.
It is all fresh, it is 100% Italian.
The wine cellar is great and you go and pick up your own bottles
Negroni for apéritif and a different dish (Pizza, pasta, meat) for each one of us. Excellent.
Nothing is better after dinner than a digestive walk down the beach (Grande Plage) bare feet in the water.
This map of Biarritz should gives an idea of the areas visited during these few days.
We have a good plan for the day.
After the morning coffee we need to go and get some supplies for lunch. Time to go to Les Halles to get some fresh fish.
We then embark on a long walk on the beach “Cote des Basques”. The tide is out, it is surfer’s paradise. Apart from a could-have-been-worse fall from myself walking on some rocks all went well. It is indeed a very beautiful place.
Of course a small pint of bier 🍻 at The George is obligatory before walking up to the apartment and enjoy the cooked salmon that PG prepared very well.
After a well deserved nap, we go and explore Bayonne town which is only 15′ away by “Electric Bus”.
It is an older town going back to the 1st century. Bayonne is, a municipality of more than 50,000 inhabitants it borders Anglet (to be pronounced Anglette as my friends keep reminding me) and Biarritz. It is now recognised as the main town in the French Basque Country.
The cathedral is more than impressive as far as the interior decorations are concerned. I do not think photos are really giving the real feel for the explosion of colours hitting you when you walk in.
Being in the Pays Basque, I of course must buy a Béret for my collection.
Before returning home, we of course need to have a drink to kill the obvious “Petite Soif”. Plenty of choices but we go for Pantxo Bistro des Halles. Here I have to say that I learned that in the Basque Country, the “X” is pronounced “CH”.
We take the bus back to Biarritz, same comfortable and quick ride.
Dinner is in Saline Restaurant Cevice Bar. Nice food, pleasant service.
A short walk around on the way home, past the old train station which is now a theatre and cinema complex. Fairly early in bed.
We decide to explore another part of town and set on foot after coffee towards the light house in the distance.
Back in town, we hurry to les Halles once again to get the ingredients in order for PG to prepare a nice Cevice for lunch.
There is of course time to stop for a drink at the bar next to the apartment
Lunch is great, light and tasty and in my case brought back a lot of memories from my time spent in South America.
We decide in the afternoon to go further South to the town of St Jean de Luz. Approximately 1 hour bus ride (we missed the train on the way there).
Saint-Jean-de-Luz bay is a natural harbour in the south-east of the Bay of Biscay. It is the only sheltered bay between Arcachon and Spain. Thanks to its strong sea walls or dykes that protect the town from the full savagery of the Atlantic Ocean, it has become a favorite for bathers across the Basque Coast. Although the seaside resort is relatively recent, the port itself is centuries old, with the most prominent point in its history being the marriage in 1660 of Louis XIV and the Spanish princess Maria Teresa.
This is the church where the wedding took place
The town itself is very pleasant with a fishing port, beaches, shopping streets and fairly lively at least in the summer. It apparently dies down a lot in the winter months.
Time to head back into Biarritz. This time we can catch the train which is much faster. On the platform there is a very old but working phone used by the staff. We cannot but laugh and upload photos in Instagram and link them to an old song from Nino Ferrer.
Back home we brave a very menacing sky to find a restaurant where seafood is served.
Final day. All 3 of us must go home. We have time till lunch time before, in the case of CC and myself, our train leaves. So guess what, let us go for a walk.
It is time for CC and myself to say goodbye to PG and catch a bus to the train station
The train is on time and we have a bite of lunch on the way to Bordeaux where we split our ways. CC stays on the train and I have to catch my connection to Carcassonne.
The timing is perfect. I hop on the train a few minutes before the start of the Le Mans 24h race and I am able to set things up so that I can watch it. Normally I would be there but Covid-19 made sure it was not possible this year.
In the meantime I receive a few messages from CC who informs me that their TGV train had to stop due to some suspect noises in the rear wagon. The passengers must transfer to another TGV to continue the journey.
It was a very pleasant few days. Biarritz and area are very nice. We certainly did a lot of walking. A lot of it following this sign which can be seen at regular interval on the roads and paths.
The question is: Where shall we go next year?