Monday, June 20, 2011

A week end in France...Saint Jean de Luz

Through my blog, I try to show you lesser known parts of France and hopefully inspire you to visit and immerse yourself in the local culture, architecture and history.

I just returned from a long week end visiting my parents in France. I had booked ahead of time two nights in a wonderful hotel: Le Grand Hotel in Saint Jean de Luz where we celebrated my parents' birthdays.

Saint Jean de Luz is located near Biarritz in the Basque country where Spain meets France.
Here Louis XIV, known as the Sun King married Marie Theresa, the Infanta of Spain on June 13, 1660.

A fishing port, Saint Jean de Luz is famous for its architecture, sandy bay, its cuisine and the quality of light as well as its micro climate. On a less cultural note, the shopping is fabulous! The many boutiques cater to an all year around and summer clientele... fabulous fashion and home accessories.

 I love all the flowers adorning balconies

 Typical Basque architecture

Central Place in Saint Jean de Luz

House dating back to Louis XIV

Le Grand Hotel, entirely re-designed is truly a gem with outstanding service, beautiful decors, amazing cuisine, perfectly located on the water to watch the sunsets. Of course, I had to try out the spa, an experience not to be missed.

Running on the endless trails along the cliffs amidst nature was a real treat. The occasional german concrete "pillboxes" are reminder of the terrible years the residents endured during World War II. The town was an important waypoint in the escape routes French resistors used to help escaping Jews pass through the Pyrenees into Spain.

The Basque country side, in all its lushness and raw beauty is a delight to travel through. A must stop (if you are lucky enough to find it) is the famous Auberge Daguin. Travel and Leisure has other resources here.

Beautiful historical town of Saint Jean Pied de Porc

Fabulous traditional Basque food

Marvelous gem: Five star, Le Grand Hotel

Hotel Restaurant: Exquisite fare

Not to be missed: the Spa with its Thalasso Therapy

Beautifully appointed bedrooms

My parents ready for an evening stroll

The Basque country is famous for its traditional weaving and pottery. I went crazy for all the linens, for bathrooms, table etc..

A bientot Saint Jean de Luz

Hope you enjoyed the tour!


  1. Merci beaucoup for taking me back there, it is one of my favourite places and I will try and get back there soon :-)

    Leeann x

  2. It's a very different world over there, isn't it? I plan to go one day, but until then, I now have an idea what it all looks like!

  3. Thanks for this vivid portrait of western France, so unknown to so many!

  4. Francine,
    Thank you so much for this beautiful tour. I left here for a few minutes, and it was great treat.
    The town is lovely and I too love the flowers on the balcony and I adore the port. So quaint.
    The hotel is absolutely perfect, and I know that your parents were thrilled.
    Hav ea nice day.

  5. Bonjour Francine! great minds think alike..I posted on Basque linens today too! But your photos are stunning, I'd love to visit St. Jean de Luz, its next on my list.

    Thanks so much for posting!

    bisous Kit

  6. Such a beautiful post. But my favorite part? Your very elegant parents:).

  7. Francine,
    What a gorgeous place in France!! Indeed, maybe we all know the most touristic places in France but I do know that France has jewels of places that we all should learn to know!
    Fantastic post Francine! Thank you so much for sharing!

  8. What a beautiful little town Francine ..... a hidden gem I think. It looks as if it is 15 years behind the times ( ....and, I mean that in a good way !! )
    A beautiful hotel, perfect restaurant to celebrate your parents birthday's (....and, may I say how wonderful they look ? ) and such a pretty little harbour. Another place to visit that must be put on the list !! XXXX

  9. I love discovering places I have not been to (yet) and I agree with you that is good to present areas not so well known, I try to do this with Italy that is NOT just Tuscany! I am sure you had a marvelous time in this beautiful place. Happy Summer!

  10. Oh I want to go!! Right now please!! I have never been to this part of France - I had always heard it was beautiful and now I know! The half timbered architecture looks a bit Alsatian but of course the red is unique. Your mother looks so chic all in white. What a marvelous trip!!

  11. St Jean de Luz looks so wonderful Francine....glad you had such a happy time....xv

  12. One of my favorite towns in all of France!

  13. Beautiful! There is something so quaint and lovely about those red windows.

    Miss Neira

  14. This looks wonderful, but it's going to be hard for me to go anywhere else in France after visiting Paris. Thank you so much for your tips on things to do. I definitely referred to them - & next year when I go back I will stay at the hotel you suggested (I will be on my own agenda and no one else's)!

  15. Francine, truly magnificent. I always appreciate your travel posts showing all the many places you visit. I hope your parents had a marvelous time celebrating their birthday's. Because of you, Saint Jean de Luz is now on my list of place that I must see in person.
    Thank you!

    x Deb

  16. Hi Francine,

    Yes, indeed I did enjoy the tour! The spa! the linens! the architecture! You encapsulated it so well that if I could I would definitely visit. Your parents look so lovely, you must have all had such a nice time.

  17. Hello Francine,
    Such fun catching up with all your posts again that I've missed during my absence.
    The Spa in the Grand Hotel looks amazing. Would love to spend a couple of hours there on a rainy day like today.

  18. Wow Again! I can't get off your website today.


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