What few people know (even I have learned it during my stay) is that St Jean de Luz, even if it's a tiny city, is one of the 10 biggest harbours in France, where fishing is more a full-time job than a lobby...
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Of course, as St Jean de Luz has its seafront side, you can't miss it : walking along, you might discover that St Jean de Luz has been forced to go back down, as the ocean had invaded, from time to time, its former front constructions...
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Go for a Swim and See a Mermaid
The beach in St. Jean de Luz is in a breakwater protected cove. The water is clear and cool with small waves. There are three floating rafts with a diving platform on the second deck anchored swimming distance from the beach. The sand is tan and stone free. Overall, a great beach.
While swimming, I heard a splash and for a second, I thought I saw a mermaid go by. I say this, because I know mermaids do not wear tops. Hehehehe!
Several stands sell access to kids activities. There are slides, swings and other things to keep them busy.
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Rue Léon Gambetta
Rue Léon Gambetta is the town's major pedestrian zone. Unlike those in other citys, it has a lot of charm: colourful Basque buildings, typically equipped with shutters on the outside of their windows, geraniums blooming in front of basically every house, a number of nice shops selling local handicrafts and much more. There is also the beautiful Église Saint-Jean-Baptiste, but as a wedding was taking place when I was there, I couldn't catch more than a glimpse from the inside.
The Harbour and Place Louis VIX
Saint-Jean-de-Luz's harbour is at the end of Rue Léon Gambetta. A shady square with plane trees (Place Louis XIV) at one side of the harbour makes a great place to sit and watch the ships or passers-by. If you want to be more active, you can also book a boat tour from here. Moreover, several artists display their paintings on the square. All in all a enjoyable place to be!
As very many other places in Aquitaine, Saint-Jean-de-Luz is home to a superb sandy beach. Quite crowded on hot days, it is nonetheless worth going there as one can never swim in an ocean too often... Several places on the Grande Plage offer sun-loungers, tents or parasols for rent, and there is also a beach club for the children.
The Beach in Acotz
If you choose to stay in Acotz at the campground Interplages, your closest beach is just next to the campground. It can get pretty crowded in the afternoons, but it's worth going there. The location is very pretty: surrounded by cliffs overgrown by shrubs and bamboo, the crescent-shaped beach has a much more natural feeling than the one in Saint-Jean-de-Luz. Nonetheless, you will not miss the amenities of urban life. On the small street leading to the beach, there are a few bars offering sandwiches, hamburgers, ice-cream and cold drinks. Further up the road are some real restaurants. You can get decent food here for a small price.
See more pictures in my Acotz travelogue.
Stroll around !!!
I could say a lot about St Jean de Luz, but I prefer letting you stroll around and appreciate its vasco streets, full of red and white houses...
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