The Basque Region


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June 9th 2012
Published: June 10th 2012EDIT THIS ENTRY

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The start of the Tour de Biarritz!
Friday 8th.

This area, Biarritz & Bayonne, is stunning! Unique and beautiful. I feel lucky to be able to immerse myself in "normal" French life, complete with about 10 workmen doing renovations, and the comings and goings of a busy family. Beats being a tourist in a hotel any day. Even the food shops are fascinating.

Eugénie had suggested I get my international license before leaving, "just in case", and I was thrown in the deep end this morning, driving us into town in Pascale's (manual) Renault! So far, so good, and I've managed to stay on the 'right' side of the road, but Eugénie was running late for her appointment, and so of course we hit roadblocks, detours, and the start of a big cycling race...!

Pascale used to be a local tour guide for some time, and so I think I'll get the royal tour experience come the weekend. Meanwhile, Eugénie and I visited her old school, met some of her 'profs', drove to Bayonne for lunch by the river & wandered around. Her mum then took us to a PACKED outdoor cliff top bar with spectacular ocean views for pre-dinner drinks, then on to visit,
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Eugénie's old school: Villa Pia
in their family home, the twin girls, Lisa et Armelle, who were in Australia with Eugénie, and whom I got to know quite well. They turn 18 on Sunday, so I think we'll be helping celebrate...

Saturday 9th

Wow!! Just back from the most wonderful day out!! Pascale (the ex-tour guide - now History/Geography teacher), took Eugénie and me around & up & down the French side of the fascinating Basque region, at the foot of the Pyrenees. Ancient towns & villages, with amazing buildings, streets, views, shops, restaurants and friendly people.

Saw, by chance, a wedding in St Jean de Luz, in the same church that Louis XIV was married in 1661!

I'm struggling in the shops, as my baggage allowance within Europe is 20kg, and I'm already up to that, so I can't let myself buy too much. Unless, perhaps, I post a parcel of stuff to myself in Holland... hmmm...

12 people for a dinner party tonight!


Additional photos below
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Inside Eugénie's old school
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Eugénie à Bayonne
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Lunch with Eugénie in Bayonne
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View of Biarritz lighthouse from the clifftop bar.
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The place to be seen!
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Chez Lisa + Armelle. Their brother and friends just home from Uni
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Dinner with Arnaud's friends
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Le petit déjeuner :P
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Pascale + Eugénie in St Jean Pied de Port
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Pascale's dessert!
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A chance wedding in the cathedral where Louis XIV was married, on the same day 351 years ago!
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Espadrilles - traditional Basque shoes
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The patisserie where macaroons were first created. The decoration above the awning is chillies - also a traditional Basque custom.


11th June 2012

France
I am just loving watching you go around the South of France - I was there about 10 years ago, and remember being just as overwhelmed by the beauty, style and colours of France especially around Dom, Rocamador, Salviac and Cahors. I found myself in a little orchard ( in the autumn) and dissolving into tears, moved by the absolute beauty of the place. I'm glad you are loving it - french life should be part of everyone's "growing up". My niece Lisa Desbiens is leaving St Maarten (Caribbean) for Aix-en-Province, working as a tour manager for American tourists in that region. Dominic too is doing everything possible to work on the Tour de France (osteopath). Love Dee
12th June 2012

Agreed!
It is so breathtakingly stunning, Dee! Everywhere I look, it stops me in my tracks. And such a rich and deep and fascinating culture! I could very happily live here, maybe 6 months of the year, when I'm retired...?! Xx
11th June 2012

The Basque Region
Yum! Loving the food :) and the culture too of course!!
12th June 2012

Not jealous
Just need to write a bit more about food - crusty French bread , duck, lard and then it will be perfect!
12th June 2012

Awesome updates.. Keep them coming!

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