Our hotels in Bayonne
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What to See in Bayonne
Tucked into the confluence of the Adour and Nive rivers in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques region of south-west France, it is mere kilometres from Spain and has long since evolved its own unique charm, taking the best of Gascon and Basque cultures and interweaving them into its architecture, heritage, gastronomic scene and language. Despite its impeccable historic credentials – Gallo-Roman origins, entrepreneurial medieval trading town and Jewish refuge from the Inquisition in the 16th century – today Bayonne has a reputation as a city that knows how to have fun. Bayonne party time is best enjoyed in the summer, when everything stops for five days of festivities during the Fêtes de Bayonne – an exciting time to travel on a friends trip to Bayonne. Whether you're visiting with the kids and looking for family hotels in Bayonne, flying in for the summer festival or need a hotel near Bayonne train station, the Accor portfolio includes a property that will be perfect for you.
Where to Visit around Bayonne
Tourism in Bayonne – a Ville d'Art et d'Histoire – centres on Grand Bayonne, a charming enclave to which visitors gravitate for its medieval alleys, remnants of fortified city walls and the Château-Vieux Bayonne, an austere edifice built on the site of a Roman garrison. All this splendour is watched over by the Gothic Bayonne Cathedral(Cathédrale Sainte-Marie de Bayonne). While construction on this soaring landmark began in the 13th century, its iconic spiky spires were only added some 600 years later. As well as a serene cloister and an exterior bristling with gargoyles and flying buttresses, the cathedral has an interior adorned with vibrant stained-glass windows, jewel-like paintings in the Chapel of St Jérôme and decorative vaulted ceilings over the altar. The seamless fusion of Gascon and Basque culture exhibited in Bayonne – slim shuttered houses painted in glorious technicolour, twin signage in French and Euskara (the ancient language of the Basques), red, green and white Basque flags – is showcased in the Musée Basque. A hop over the Nive via Pont Marengo bridge into Petit Bayonne will take you straight there for beguiling celebrations of Basque music, art and culture. Close by is the Trinquet Saint-André, where the traditional Basque game of *pelota,*similar to squash,is still played on a 19th-century court. The Musée Bonnat-HelleuBayonne is also on this side of the river and is a repository of masterly paintings by Rubens, Rembrandt and El Greco.
Bayonne Local Delicacies
Bayonne forms a triumvirate of townships with Biarritz and Anglet, collectively known as B-A-B and all very different in character*.*For some time in the brisk sea air on the Atlantic coast, the trip from Bayonne to Anglet takes 10 minutes by car. There you'll find a long strip of surfing beaches – the most northern is Plage de la Barre, Bayonne's beach of choice – backed by dunes and lined by a seafront promenade with views to snow-capped Pyrenean peaks. Golf courses galore, plus woodland biking and hiking trails in Chiberta Forest, are among the outdoor attractions of this relaxed seaside town, populated year-round by surfers from across Europe. Ever-elegant Biarritz is of course the watersports HQ of France, with its beckoning sandy beaches and reliable waves off the Côte des Basques – the best surfing spot of them all. As it's only a 20-minute journey from Bayonne to Biarritz, we recommend spending a day there. Have a wander around the romantic and photogenic Port des Pêcheurs, and if you're travelling with kids, have a dip in the sea and then pop into the gleaming white, art deco Biarritz Aquarium for encounters with rays and sharks. Round off a trip with a bone-dry local sagarno cider in a seafront café as you watch the sun slip below the horizon.
Hotels in Bayonne
Holidays in Bayonne are never complete without sampling the rich local chocolate. The city has been renowned for its production since the 17th century, and today you can visit the Atelier du Chocolat (Chocolate Studio) to see artisans produce sweet treats in all manner of flavours. A meander down any street in the centre of the city will lead you to chocolatiers to sample the goods and buy beautifully wrapped packages to take home as souvenirs. Shopping done, it's time for a breather, so why not join the locals for a frothychocolat mousseux in a stylish terrace café? Another famous regional speciality is Bayonne ham cured with spicy pimentos cultivated around the hill village of Espelette nearby – taste slices from the delicatessens lining rue des Cordeliers in Petit Bayonne or graze the charcuterie stalls at Les Halles de Bayonne gourmet market. We suggest a picnic of fresh baguette, Bayonne ham and aromatic tomatoes to be eaten among the lavish greenery and palm-lined walkways of the Bayonne Botanical Garden. All the best restaurants in Bayonne feature Basque dishes on their menus, from pintxossnacks – anchovies, goat's cheese or pepper skewered onto bread *–*and axoa veal stew to mamia, a yoghurt-like sheep's curd doused with honey and served as dessert. Many seafood restaurants in Bayonne offer merlu koskera (hake, mussels and asparagus in white wine) and marmitako, a rich tuna stew with onions and red peppers. Accompany any Basque meal with full-bodied regional wines like Irouléguy reds or the dry white Txakolina. Other typically Basque drinks include chilled sagarno cider and Izarraherbal liqueurs.
Getting to Bayonne
Accor's stylish economy hotel with a terrace garden and fitness centre is one of the best places to stay in Bayonne, with a central location and within walking distance of the train station. Bayonne hotels also include a budget choice five minutes' walk from riverside Grand Bayonne, and a bed-and-breakfast hotel in city-centre Bayonne. Rather stay out of the town centre? Accor has well-priced options and luxury hotels near Bayonne, France, on the Atlantic coast in Anglet and Biarritz.
Biarritz Pays Basque is the nearest airport and has year-round flights from Paris, Lyon, Brussels and London. On arrival, take a bus or taxi for the 15-minute journey to Bayonne. From the UK, take a ferry from Portsmouth to Santander in Spain and drive (under 3 hours) or take a bus (4.5 hours). Trains from Gare de Bayonne SNCF station connect with Bordeaux and Toulouse.