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Basque Luxury – Saint Jean-de-Luz

March 5, 2014 @ 9:49 am
posted by Sandra Sheridan

Down in Basque country in southwestern France, everything from the language to the regional cuisine is decidedly unique. Saint-Jean-de-Luz is a happy, sauntering kind of village of about 15,000, a lovely retreat to visit.

Imagine a relaxing “Cote Basque” seaside and lively fishing port with medieval, Moorish and Spanish influence; and you’ll begin to envision the charming resort. On the Bay of Biscay, almost as far south as you can go in France without entering Spain, the town sports a blend of Spain’s Andalusia and Basque building styles – definitely the prototypical “Old World” charm.

Consider a luxurious getaway at Le Parc Victoria , when you plan your visit. A member of the prestigious Relais & Chateaux, the hotel is just minutes from the beach and offers a sheltered 19th century setting from which to explore the village.

The enticing beach offers a bit of everything – boutique shopping and sporty surf shops, casino, hearty Basque dining, brightly-colored fishing boats and plentiful sun for beach worshippers. The village is on the bank of the river Nivelle; and the port is on the estuary, just short of the point where the river joins the ocean.

St.-Jean-de-Luz Beach

Begin your discovery ‘tour’ at Place Louis XIV – the main village square. The King married Marie-Therese here in 1660, thus uniting Europe’s then two most powerful countries. The Eglise St. Jean-Baptiste is the one notable historic attraction in the town. On Place Louis-XIV, visit Maison Adam, the confectioner who has satisfied many a sweet tooth since 1660, specializing in the flavor of almonds, caramels and fruit confits. Indulge in shopping along pedestrian rue Gambetta for leather goods, brightly-colored Basque textiles, mouth-watering chocolates and macaroons.

But there’s far more to the exceptional Basque cuisine than sweets. The Basque gastronomy pulls from the land and sea, from French and Spanish cuisine. Fresh seasonal ingredients and simple, home-style cooking techniques produce Basque pumpkin soup, wild mushroom omelets, ewe’s milk cheese spread, grilled fish and Basque tapas.

One of your daily pleasures should be a walk at sunset along the promenade. When you look over the calming waters of the Atlantic, you won’t quite believe that this port once was a center for privateers. Today it is pleasure, not pirates, that attracts vacationers to set aside the daily routine for a restful stay by the ocean.

We’d love to hear from you! swsheridan@luxeeuro.com
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