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Overview

In the southwestern corner of France, Pays Basque (Basque Country) is like a world unto itself, and there are calls for separation from France. The culture and history of these highly individualistic people are more similar to that of the Spanish Basques across the border. The French and Spanish Basques share similar physical characteristics, traditions, and a common language (Euskara). The capital of the French Basques is Bayonne, the leading port of Côte Basque with its own cathedral and yacht basin. It lies 478 miles southwest of Paris. But most foreign visitors skip it in favor of the chief coastal resorts of glitzy Biarritz and ...

In the southwestern corner of France, Pays Basque (Basque Country) is like a world unto itself, and there are calls for separation from France. The culture and history of these highly individualistic people are more similar to that of the Spanish Basques across the border. The French and Spanish Basques share similar physical characteristics, traditions, and a common language (Euskara). The capital of the French Basques is Bayonne, the leading port of Côte Basque with its own cathedral and yacht basin. It lies 478 miles southwest of Paris. But most foreign visitors skip it in favor of the chief coastal resorts of glitzy Biarritz and St-Jean-de-Luz. Pays Basque is an excellent center for trips to the western Pyrenees and the Spanish Basque country centering around the resort of St. Sebastián. Both of these regions can be visited on day trips from Bayonne or Biarritz. In the western Pyrenees, Lourdes can also be easily visited. It's the major religious center of France.

Danforth Prince
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Darwin Porter and Danforth Prince have written many guidebooks for Frommer's, including Frommer's France and Frommer's Germany.

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: The French Basque Country is situated within the western part of the French department of the Pyrénées-Atlantiques and constitutes the north-eastern part of the Basque Country.
  • Language: French, Spanish, Basque, Gascon
  • Currency: Euro
  • Research: Biarritz | Wikipedia | Basque Country
  • Weather: Daylight | Rainfall

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Late spring; summer; early fall