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isabel Dec 21st, 2016 05:19 PM

Biarritz, Bayonne, or St Jean de Luz?
I'm arriving at Biarritz airport around 4 pm in June. Planning on four nights in France before moving on to Spain. I would like to visit Bayonne, Biarritz and St Jean de Luz, as well as hopefully Espelette during the 3 full days/ 4 evenings. I'm trying to decide which town makes the most sense to base in.

I was originally thinking of staying in Bayonne and day tripping to the others but am now leaning towards St Jean. However, I while I can see that there are buses from the airport to St Jean, I can't find schedules and so wondering how often the buses run and if it might be more difficult to get there on arrival than Bayonne.

Thoughts appreciated.

thursdaysd Dec 21st, 2016 05:29 PM

I chose to base in Bayonne, which I found more convenient for trains and buses.

StuDudley Dec 21st, 2016 08:29 PM

>>Thoughts appreciated.<<

Are you traveling by car or public transportation? (other than airport to your "base")?

Stu Dudley

rouelan Dec 21st, 2016 10:49 PM

Bonjour, here are all the links

For Bayonne, Biarritz, Anglet, use city bus (Chronoplus)

Between Bayonne and St Jean (via Biarritz station, which is quite far from the city). It also goes via the airport (but you can also take Chronoplus to Biarritz city or Bayonne from airport)
If you stay in Bayonne and want to go to St Jean, it is however more convenient and much faster to take the train
From Bayonne to Espelette

So, in the end, Bayonne is the only place to have direct bus to Espelette ans thus would be the most convenient place to stay

isabel Dec 22nd, 2016 04:45 AM

rouelan - thanks so much for those links. I had 'similar' links to those bus companies but none of them allowed me to get the schedules. This helps a lot.

Stu - this portion of my trip I will not have a car so need to be able to do things by public transportation

thursdays - I think you are right, Bayonne was my first choice but looking at reviews for hotels I saw a number of references to 'sketchy' areas. I really think these people are just referring to the normal amount of beggers that hang around cities, probably no worse than any other city. Do you remember the name of the hotel you stayed in?

thursdaysd Dec 22nd, 2016 05:39 AM

The hotel scene in Bayonne is not great. I stayed at the Ibis Styles, on the station side of the river. Very convenient for the train station, of course, and you can easily walk across the bridge to the main town, or take a bus. A one day bus pass is a mere two euro, and gets you the whole system, including Biarritz.

This was my second time using Bayonne as a base. Besides the places you list you could consider St. Jean Pied-de-Port and Pau. There is a quite useful T.I. in town.

Don't remember thinking anywhere looked especially seedy, but I wasn't out much after 10:00 pm. [Update: I see that I said that the area around my hotel was seedy, but I didn't have any problems. I think it was more that the area was run down than that there were dubious people around.] Nor do I remember much in the way of beggars. Wonder if the TA posters were confusing them with pilgrims? St. Jean Pied-de-Port is the start of the Camino and the pilgrims come through Bayonne on the way up.


For Biarritz, which I liked more than I expected:

My review (they may have improved the wifi since then, which would add a star):

StCirq Dec 22nd, 2016 06:36 AM

St-Jean-de-Luz is the star among those three, IMO. But it does look like Baynne has the best bus connections.

thursdaysd Dec 22nd, 2016 06:44 AM

"St-Jean-de-Luz is the star among those three, IMO" - definitely a matter of opinion! I didn't think it was worth revisiting on my second trip to the area....

rouelan Dec 22nd, 2016 11:38 AM

It Is comparing apples and pears.
Bayonne is the big old city.
Biarritz is élégant, yet vibrant because of Beach, surf and well deserved international fame.
St Jean is Much smaller, more "vieille France" but the main pedestrian Street is nice as well as the Beach (but I prefer the crashing waves in Biarritz).
And the jewel in the area is, I think, San Sebastian (train to Hendaye, cross the yard and then Topo to SS)

rouelan Dec 22nd, 2016 12:13 PM

And if I may,
Espelette is nice but I would not spend half day or even more to get There.
Ideally, you would rent a car and tour the area. There are several villages worth a detour, of course Espelette, but also Bidarray, pas de Roland, Sare and many more.
I dont know if the train Bayonne St Jean Pied de Port is still running (really old and damaged rail tracks) but it is very nice, plus St Jean is really worth a visit (if no more trains, it has been replaced by bus).

thursdaysd Dec 22nd, 2016 01:14 PM

Last year Bayonne to St. Jean Pied de Port was train plus bus. No idea what it is now. (The bus met the train and v.v.)

rhon Dec 22nd, 2016 02:07 PM

We stayed in Sare in October. We had a car so did not really look at public transport. But I did see reference to a bus between St Jean de Luz and Sare [ tourist office I think ]with a stop at the Rhune railway . This is a rack railway which climbs to the top of the Rhune mountain near Sare. The views to the coast and inland are lovely and we enjoyed some time on top walking around among the pottok ponies whish roam there.

MyriamC Dec 22nd, 2016 11:40 PM

<<St-Jean-de-Luz is the star among those three, IMO.>>
Really? I found it a pretty depressing place. Don't feel the need to ever go back.

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