One of the French Basque Country's great attractions is the close proximity of sea and country. The coastline is dramatic, with its wide sweeps of sandy beaches, cliffs and fishing harbours, beautiful sunsets over the sea and the Atlantic surf breaking on rocky outcrops; yet just a few minutes' drive inland are green, rolling hills, streams and rivers and flower filled pastures.
The Basque identity of this region is apparent; the place names, the local accents, the Basque colours of the red and green timbered houses of villages where pelota is played regularly and in locally woven linens. Pimentos hanging from houses are a common sight as are locals in traditional costume for festivals and feast days. We loved the Basque Country from the moment we first visited it.
The luxury hotels in the Basque Country which we recommend are located in and around St Jean de Luz, an old fishing port with wide sandy beaches. An excellent way to explore the Basque country is by car, perhaps also visiting other parts of southern France including Carcassonne and Bordeaux, or venturing into Spain for a touring holiday including Northern Spain and French Catalonia.
Average air temperatures by month in centigrade: Jan 10.0, Feb 9.4, Mar 12.2, Apr 19.5, May 18.0, Jun 23.7, Jul 27.2, Aug 25.7, Sep 24.2, Oct 19.7, Nov 15.4, Dec 11.0.
Source: Direction de la Meteorologique de France.
Sample traditions such as pelota and pimento festivals. Local crafts such as the makhila walking stick, fine linens and Thalassotherapy. There are excellent golf courses and sandy beaches. Notice the red and green timbered houses.
Self-drive: Take the ferry from Portsmouth to Bilbao with P&O or from Plymouth to Santander with Brittany Ferries. We can arrange for you to arrive in Spain by ferry but to return via the French western Channel ports. If driving from Calais we recommend at least two nights' en route each way. Ask us for overnight stop recommendations. By Motorail: The Calais to Bordeaux service operates from June until August. By Air: Bordeaux is the closest direct international airport. Allow about 3 hours' drive to the hotels.
Hotel Parc Victoria is a delightful and thoroughly unique property in St Jean de Luz.
The Grand Hotel enjoys a prominent beachfront position in St Jean de Luz and exudes Belle Epoque splendour.
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Paris Airport Main airports are in Paris, Bordeaux and Lyon, with scheduled and low cost airlines flying into the country from all over the UK. Currency Euro (£1 = Euro 1.24) Size Roughly 600 miles wide and 700 miles long Population 66 million Average temperature Varies dramatically, from about 8 degrees in winter in Brittany to 26 degrees in summer in Corsica, with snow on the Alps and Pyrenees year-round
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