From Irun, you must cross the border to get close to this lovely city, the chief of the Basque country, bordered by the river Adour. We recommend the walk along the 3 neighborhoods that make up the old town, the Petite Bayonne, the Grand Bayonne and Saint Esprit. On the roofs are 2 big spiers of the cathedral of Notre Dame, a lovely Gothic building, and it is surrounded by an interesting set of squares and mansions protected by Vieux Chateau and the remains of 3 defensive zones. Cottages Guipúzcoa.
A Romanesque cathedral was destroyed by 2 fires in the years 1258 and 1310. The current building construction began in the middle of the 13th century and was completed in the early 16th century. The architect Emile Boeswildwald was commissioned to carry out the reforms. Gothic style, this cathedral has a magnificent cloister and is named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. A gem to be visited!
This mythical place celebrates the arrival of summer with the Bayonne Festival with young and old from all parts of France! Bayonne and the surrounding cities are assaulted every night (the celebration lasts from Wednesday to Sunday). Some official shuttle buses become increasingly animated, carrying hundreds of thousands of people, who walk the crowded streets all night. Of course, you have to dress traditionally in red and white, which adds to the charm of this unmissable party. Alcohol is often consumed with little restraint during these nights, which has led, on occasion to some disasters. But the party just keeps going and everyone still goes to Bayonne in early August to celebrate.
The Bonnat Museum is one of the biggest French museums. It is in the center of Bayonne in a building of architecture from the year 1900. It was designed to hold the works collected by Léon Bonnat, artist and collector, who gave it to his hometown. In its rooms one can find paintings, sculptures and drawings of the most notable artists such as Rubens, El Greco, Murillo, Goya, Ingres, Degas, etc. The cabinet of drawings is internationally renowned. This is a lovely museum in a city with a special charm.
Today the building houses the town hall and theater, but it also housed the headquarters of the office. Made in the Neoclassical style, it was constructed in the year 1843. On top there are 6 huge statues symbolizing the economic and artistic activities.
Located in the "Petit Bayonne" next to the castle, this neo-Gothic church was built in the mid-19th century, thanks to funds provided by a local patron. It stands on the site of a medieval church and the 17th-century municipal school. The interior has a deep red color, which reminded me of the Church of Saint Vincent in Hendaye, although it doesn't have a wooden gallery inside.
In 1451, Charles VII built this fortress following the French conquest of Bayonne.It has two enormous circular towers that look out over the city, symbolizing the king's will over the residents of the city. A few meters away, you'll find the deep red Church of Saint André.
This is the third edition and two of the previous editions have gone to this beautiful Basque city. For two consecutive days on the weekends, the farm moves downtown ("La ferme en ville"). During this exhibition, you can see sheep shearing, cows being milked, parades of different breeds of horses, donkeys, cheese-making, and sheepdog contests. For children, there are workshops where they can draw, paint, and have some snacks.
When I went to the capital of the French Basque country I decided to visit the nature reserve "Plain d'Ansot". It is a unique, beautiful place, only 4 steps from the city. Just cross the white bridge of Bayonne to reach this protected natural ecosystems of wetlands. Hiking, bird observatory, the natural history museum. It has everything to get closer to nature.
Another year, next to the cathedral and the town hall in Bayonne there is a Christmas market, which includes wooden houses with crafts, carriage rides, Christmas decorations, skating rink, a visit from Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus and Olentzero(Basque coal, brought down from the mountain the night of December 24 to bring gifts to children).
Bayonne is filled with lovely half-timbered houses, but the house Moulis, the is the most representative of this type of building in the city. With a traditional construction of the Renaissance style, the house takes its name from a pharmacist who owned the property since the year 1815.
This small bar is conveniently located next to the cathedral. You can sit on the terrace and enjoy a great sangria. There is little space for the number of tables that this bar owns. It's only €5.20 for two pitchers of sangria, though the waiters aren't always very friendly.