Top things to do in French Basque Country

Top Choice Area in St-Jean Pied de Port

Walled Town

Though modern St-Jean has expanded considerably, during medieval times the entire town was enclosed by defensive ramparts guarding France's southwestern corner against incursions from across the Spanish border. The …
Top Choice French in Ainhoa

Ithurria

For a memorable Basque meal, stop at the Michelin-starred Ithurria, established by the Isabal family in an old pilgrims’ hostel and now run by Maurice Isabal’s two sons (one the sommelier, the other the chef). To ma…
Top Choice Church in St-Jean de Luz

Église St-Jean Baptiste

The plain façade of France’s largest and finest Basque church conceals a splendid interior with a magnificent Baroque altarpiece. It was in front of this very altarpiece that Louis XIV and María Teresa, daughter of …
Top Choice Cathedral in Bayonne

Cathédrale Ste-Marie

The twin towers of Bayonne's Gothic cathedral soar above the city. Construction began in the 13th century, and was completed in 1451. Above the north aisle are three lovely stained-glass windows; the oldest, in the …
Top Choice Basque in St-Jean de Luz

Le Kaiku

To spoil yourself, Nicholas Borombo's stellar Michelin-starred address is the place to dine in St-Jean. Known for their modern interpretation of Basque classics, his dishes are full of unusual ingredients, from Asia…
Top Choice Bakery in Biarritz

Le Moulin de Bassilour

This rustic bakery in a hidden vale 8km south of Biarritz is set in a historic mill that still grinds the flour using the stream that runs beneath the kitchen. From this, the bakery makes delicious, authentic gâteau…
Top Choice French in St-Jean de Luz

Xaya

Duck down a side street into this stone-walled restaurant for excellent French food with a Basque twist. There are two options: order grilled fish or steaks à la carte, or (at dinner-time only) just delve into delec…
Top Choice Gastronomy in Bayonne

Table de Pottoka

Run by renowned chef Sebastien Gravé (who also runs a place in Paris), this is Bayonne's top spot. It's committed to big Basque flavours, but explores them in all kinds of innovative ways. Inside, things are sleek a…
Top Choice Seafood in St-Jean de Luz

Buvette des Halles

For the full-blown French market experience, this tiny corner restaurant hidden away in Les Halles is a must. Pull up a stool at the counter under its collection of vintage teapots, and tuck into plates of Bayonne h…
Top Choice Gastronomy in St-Jean Pied de Port

Chez Arrambide

This two-Michelin-starred restaurant at the Hôtel des Pyrénées is renowned for miles around, and is where chef Firmin Arrambide works wonders with market produce. It's a high-class treat, where dishes are as arty as…