France into northern Spain: Places????

Old Jan 16th, 2022, 11:29 AM
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France into northern Spain: Places????

Hi All,
We are traveling through France for a month (mid-May-mid-June), would like to wander down to Basque Spain (Bilbao, San Sebastian and any charming villages along the way). Still figuring out the itinerary from Paris, but would love to hear your favorite charming villages/regions around the Basque region of Spain. We love Spain but have not traveled north (besides Barcelona/coastal towns nearby).
Any suggestions re. an intinerary from Paris down to the south would be very helpful. Have dreamt of Burgundy for the last two years, but fear this is just too far from Biarritz and into Spain.
All suggestions welcome!
Thank you!
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Old Jan 16th, 2022, 11:36 AM
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France to Northern Spain: Places?

Hi All,
We are traveling through France for a month (mid-May-mid-June), would like to wander down to Basque Spain (Bilbao, San Sebastian and any charming villages along the way). Still figuring out the itinerary from Paris, but would love to hear your favorite charming villages/regions around the Basque region of Spain. We love Spain but have not traveled north (besides Barcelona/coastal towns nearby).
Any suggestions re. an intinerary from Paris down to the south would be very helpful. Have dreamt of Burgundy for the last two years, but fear this is just too far from Biarritz and into Spain.
All suggestions welcome!
Thank you!
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Old Jan 16th, 2022, 11:53 AM
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Not sure why this allure for Biarritz, a nice town with a casino, a beach and expensive shops...quite overrated, IMO. Bayonne is more classy and with much more things to enjoy than Biarritz. Also, St Jean de Luz, Gethary, Cambo, Espelette and Ainhoa in the French Basque Country are must sees. Hondarribia, on the Spanish side, is really worth a visit (top and bottom parts of town), then Pasai Donibane, then Donostia-San Sebastian, and on the coast Getaria, Zumaia, Lekeitio, Elantxobe, Plentzia, Getxo and then Bilbao. On an easier route, Gernika and the Casa de Juntas (so symbolic and important for us Basques), Bermeo and Mundaka, close to famous San Juan de Gaztelugatxe. Bilbao deserves at least two nights, more or less as Donostia-San Sebastian.
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Old Jan 16th, 2022, 12:43 PM
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This is almost the exact same question you asked on your other thread. The answers you get will make much more sense if you keep it to to one thread, at least at first. You can also start related threads once you are well into the planning phase. But two this similar will just confuse people. Get this one deleted
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Old Jan 16th, 2022, 02:11 PM
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Welcome to Fodors. We have merged your two threads.
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Old Jan 16th, 2022, 02:15 PM
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I have twice based in Bayonne, which I like very much: https://mytimetotravel.wordpress.com...ng-in-bayonne/

Can also recommend Pamplona, somewhat to my surprise: https://mytimetotravel.wordpress.com...with-pamplona/
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Old Jan 16th, 2022, 03:03 PM
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Hi MikeLG,
thank you! We think the same way: great list of Spain spots...appreciate you saving me from the slam-mob in Biarritz! Wondering if you can suggest any charming locally run B&Bs (we love these kind of places to stay).
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Old Jan 16th, 2022, 03:04 PM
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Thank you...I'm a newbie, and will remember to specify the specific country!
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Old Jan 16th, 2022, 10:03 PM
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For nice rural accommodation, I´d suggest to check www.nekatur.net, cozy and really good accommodation in towns (not in cities). For apartments, I´m afraid I can´t be of help.
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Old Jan 16th, 2022, 10:42 PM
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For charming villages on the Spanish side of the Basque country, when going down the coast from France instead of going west toward San Sebastian, go south east to this area:


There you will find nice villages and towns:




On the French side don't miss the La Rhune train ride to the summit.


Last edited by Michael; Jan 16th, 2022 at 10:47 PM.
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Old Jan 17th, 2022, 09:05 AM
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Why don't you make a stop in Positano and the Amalfi coast (Italy)? Everyone raves about it. Its on the way and in between france and spain. Also, there is a quaint little town called Toledo in Spain. A famous painter lived there. It reminds me of Peyton Place!
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Old Jan 17th, 2022, 09:35 AM
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Originally Posted by ldatt22 View Post
Why don't you make a stop in Positano and the Amalfi coast (Italy)? Everyone raves about it. Its on the way and in between france and spain. Also, there is a quaint little town called Toledo in Spain. A famous painter lived there. It reminds me of Peyton Place!
Huh? Have you looked at a map? Italy is the opposite side of southern France from the Basque country, and the Amalfi Coast is well to the south. It is not on the way to anywhere, except perhaps Sicily. Maybe you mean the Cinque Terre, but that is still the wrong direction.
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Old Jan 17th, 2022, 11:10 AM
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Originally Posted by ldatt22 View Post
Why don't you make a stop in Positano and the Amalfi coast (Italy)? Everyone raves about it. Its on the way and in between france and spain. Also, there is a quaint little town called Toledo in Spain. A famous painter lived there. It reminds me of Peyton Place!
I would hardly call Toledo a "quaint little town". It´s one of the most visited places in Spain and it has a size. El Greco is the painter you´re talking about.
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Old Jan 17th, 2022, 11:43 AM
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Michael,
beautiful! The map & photo are so helpful, thank you!
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Old Jan 17th, 2022, 11:45 AM
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Ha Ha! Yes we were in Italy's Amalfi Coast...wow what a tourist trap! Ferry was jammed! We love France and Spain and will find much to do there that is charming and relaxing.
Thank you!
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Old Jan 17th, 2022, 01:58 PM
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We have loved our trips to both of the Basque
areas in France and Spain. Do not miss the charming Basque villages in the foothills of the Pyrenees , above St-Jean de Luz, in France. Some of them are Ainhoa, Ascain, Saré and Espellette. It is easy to see them all. I bought textiles in Saré. It is designated as one of the most beautiful villages in France.
St-Jean de Luz is a pretty seafront small city.
Cross over to Spain to Hondarribia, San Sebastián,Getaria, and the city of Bilbao.
We missed Pamplona as rock slides were blocking the road.
I highly recommend that you read Michael Kurlansky’s “The Basque History of the World” to have a better understanding of this unique culture and people that predate the countries of Spain and France.

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Old Jan 18th, 2022, 10:39 AM
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I just saw this very fun program about Bayonne on NHK TV:


From Paris to Bayonne, I recommend seeing the Marias Poitevin, a former bay canalised by monks in the 14th century. There is a vast network of hundreds of canals. The section which is forested is called The Green Venice. There are quite a few villages with inland ports from which you can rent a barque (like a flat-bottom canoe) or take a tour with a guide. The barque is paddled standing up like in Venice, though it's possible to rent kayaks and regular canoes as well. I went from La Garette-Sansais, and some of the villages like Arcais, St Hilaire la Palud, and Coulon are so picturesque. it is a thoroughly unique landscape. I was fortunate enough to be there during a full moon, in which case they have night tours as well.

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Old Jan 18th, 2022, 12:01 PM
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When I was visiting San Sebastian, I actually came across a webcam of the Grande Plage in Biarritz. It was magnificent, the phare spinning at night on the opposite end of that crescent arc.

I made an impromptu day trip to visit. Streets and buildings were so clean, maybe renovated recently?

Even thought about visiting Bordeaux but it was at least another couple of hours north.

To my eye anyways, that oceanfront seemed way more scenic than anything near Bordeaux, which I haven't been to yet.

I don't know about the history in Biarittz but seemed to have natural beauty, maybe enough sun to be a big draw?

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Old Jan 18th, 2022, 12:17 PM
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I enjoyed Biarritz a lot more than I expected. Nice walks along the waterfront, plus a small Asian museum. https://mytimetotravel.wordpress.com...iful-biarritz/
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Old Jan 19th, 2022, 01:50 AM
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I like the east coast joining France to Spain, especially if you walk up in the mountains where you can find ancient monuments to wars.
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