St Jean de Luz
"An all the year round town."
If I could draw a line in a south easterly direction as a bird might fly from St Jean de Luz in the Pyrenees-Atlantiques to Collioure in the Pyrenees-Orientales it would connect my two favourite coastal towns in France.
St Jean de Luz is much bigger than Collioure and still has a commercial port and important fishing fleet; both are blessed with idyllic locations and while Collioure has its harbour and the castle St Jean de Luz has its large sandy bay and and many beautiful houses that date from the 17th and 18th centuries bordering the main square.
Tourists flock here all year round but whilst catering for their needs the town continues to be a living working town that has not been overtaken by a resort culture.
"And in springtime"
In summer, as can be seen in the main picture above the square is shaded by the large leafy trees. Artists set up their easels in any empy space - from any angle there is a picture to be painted.
In summer free concerts are peformed on the bandstand and the cafes and restaurants that surround the square are overflowing with people enjoying the scene, the atmosphere and the music.
On a mild morning early in April it was warm enough to sit outside for lunch and to have a good look at the lovely Basque architecture of the town.
"The small streets start here."
Leading off from the square are a number of small streets with small shops, restaurants .
On the main street - rue Gambetta is the church of St-Jean-Baptiste where King Lois married Maria Theresa of Castile in 1660.
It was an event of great extravagance and ostentation - strange to think of now in this lovely small town.