Five Reasons to Choose St Jean de Luz
"St Jean de Luz sits on a stunning bay on the Basque coast, near the Spanish border, and is famed for its play of light on the golden sand and whitewashed buildings, with the Pyrenees gleaming in the background. Popular with Basque families, it's also a working fishing port...hence the slew of excellent restaurants." Sunday Times
"For those who do not naturally gravitate towards the sun and fun of the beach, a seaside resort needs a special, intangible quality. Like the theatre, a good resort must be able to make one suspend one's disbelief. In all of southern France, there are very few places that can do this: one is Collioure on the Mediterranean, another St Jean de Luz." "Bilbao & The Basque Lands" by Cadogan Guides
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St Jean de Luz - highlights
With the more famous resort of Biarritz just a few kms up the coast, St Jean de Luz has lived – contentedly – in the shadows of its more illustrious neighbour. To the Basques of St Jean de Luz, Biarritz is practically a foreign land!
In fact, arriving in St Jean de Luz you might well wonder if you are in France at all. This is where France meets Spain and the mix on this side of the Pyrénées creates a distinctly different ambience. This is French Basque Country.
The relative secrecy of this far south western corner of France has served St Jean de Luz well. Whilst it is an ever-popular French holiday destination, the town is also a working port and bustling shopping centre, and consequently it's alive and vibrant all year round.
St Jean de Luz suits the discerning traveller: whilst the sandy beaches are excellent for families, this is not a “bucket and spade” resort - the Basques and the fishermen would never allow this! It’s for those who want to experience active and varied days and relax in the evening, enjoying a meal in one of the many brasseries and bistrots which line the town’s enchanting back streets.
The location is enviable, set in a horse-shoe bay with a beautiful sandy beach and a backdrop of the western Pyrénées, peaked by La Rhune, the mythical Basque mountain. This combination of ocean and mountain landscapes is a unique draw and also helps to keep St Jean de Luz surprisingly mild in winter.
More than that, the landscape and vibrant Basque architecture produce a combination of light and colour that gives St Jean de Luz a special, intangible quality, that is matched in only a few other places in France. Little wonder it’s one of our favourite resorts.
St Jean de Luz - Our Personal Favourites
French resorts tend to be very seasonal and this can often come as a surprise to visitors who are less familiar with France. Owners of seasonal business such as bars and restaurants can often get by simply by operating in two months of the year - July & August - and are happy to shut down the rest of the year.
St Jean de Luz is a working fishing resort with a reasonably large permanent population. As such, whilst the town is buzzing in August, it also remains comparatively active all-year-round.
Find out more in our St Jean de Luz tourist information guide. Topics covered include beaches, activities such as golf and surfing, kids' attractions, restaurants, cultural attractions and more...
St Jean de Luz - client comments
“The town is an upmarket ‘boutique’ town – very clean and tidy. The shops are excellent but expensive and the town beaches were excellent too. There are no touristy-type shops and the restaurants were very good.”
(Mr N Oxley)
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