La Côte Basque – St-Jean-Pied-de-Port et Bayonne

As we continued to drive west I was shocked to find how prominent the different local languages of France were. I knew they existed. In Nice there’s Nicoise and in Provence there’s Provencal but they’re so far in the past that they’re rarely used except for the occasional word here and there and you wouldn’t even notice it, you’d just assume it was merely a word you never learned.

St.-Jean-Pied-de-Port is the gateway of Basque country where you start to see the Euskara language popping up on signs and buildings or being used by the locals. The Language crosses the border of France and into Spain and the Basque colours of green and red are seen everywhere in the architecture. It’s quite a shock to the system coming out of Provence. While it was fascinating I found the whitewashing of buildings a little hard to handle, I guess I just really like the natural stone or I’ve become so accustomed to the Alps-Provence region. Not sure. When we rolled in we were excited we’d finally get to go to a market. Being on the move everyday meant we regularly arrived too late and they were already finished for the day and this was a day we raced to get there on time but as we were nearing the city it hit me that we might find ourselves out of luck yet again. They always say the French have a lot of holidays and while it’s true, the person who coined it probably visited in May, the height of French holidays. Being that it was May, we fell on one of those lovely holidays were the whole city seems to shut down so instead of walking past all the shops which were closed we took a few photos and headed to Bayonne on our way to the Atlantic!

Bayonne was hot, it was full of little streets and the typical cathedral that hides behind the next corner despite it’s grandeur and again was relatively shut down but in typical French fashion everyone was in the streets sitting at the local cafes. I love it. Even though we couldn’t see the ocean it started to feel nearer and nearer. Almost there!

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