Fantastic Saint Jean de Luz on the Basque coast in southern France

A fisherman mending his nets in the old time honoured fashion

We've reached Saint-Jean-de-Luz, a predominantly Basque town on the Atlantic Ocean just 20 kms north of the Spanish border. We had rather high expectations for this town and we've scheduled 6 days here in a hopefully excellent small hotel right on the beach. This will be our vacation "swan song" before we say au revoir to France and face up to the diabolical trip home to Nambucca Heads.

Wow! This is a really lovely little fishing industry and summer vacation town. Furthermore, our 24 room beachfront hotel well exceeded our expectations and we're really pleased we decided to exceed the normal budget for this stopover. There's only a five metre wide promenade between our hotel and a lovely sandy beach. We have glorious 180 degree panoramic views and we are absolutely stoked. There are only four staff here in the hotel and they are fantastic. They are unfailingly cheerful and nothing is too much trouble.

The only negative has been Brian's health. For the last two weeks he's been bothered by stomach problems and also a deep seated cough which won't go away. Luckily Brian had the foresight to ask our hotel to set up a doctor's consultation for immediately after our arrival. The doctor turned out to be great and diagnosed a bronchial infection which fortunately responded quickly to some antibiotics. The stomach ailment was more of a mystery but the Doc put him on a cocktail of three medications and soon Brian was almost back to normal. We expected this medical experience to be horrendously expensive but consultation and prescribed medications came to about 80 Euros which was far less shattering than what we had expected.

The view south from our hotel room in St Jean de Luz

The view north from our hotel room in St Jean de Luz

Colourful fishing boats in foreground - Old former palace in background

One of these sculptures is NOT pregnant. Can you guess which one?

We splurged on the "Plateau de la Mer" at this famous seafood restaurant.
Every conceivable type of shellfish & crustacean on two tiers. Fantastic! 

No, not exotic cow droppings but a tiny example of the 40 odd flavours
of delicious  ice cream to had in this "ice cream mad" region of France.

Seafood is a major industry in this part of the world and we had been recommended to the region's most famous seafood restaurant by a friend of a friend. We took an outdoor table in the square in front of the old royal palace and right near the moored fishing trawlers. It was a fine sunny day and the fishing harbour looked stunning.

We noticed that half the other diners seemed to be having a massive two tier seafood platter and it did indeed look inviting. We ordered the same and weren't disappointed. All the shellfish were ultra fresh, succulent and delicious. The various crustaceans were also nice but mostly not up to the flavour of what we usually get in NSW. Up to now we haven't been very impressed with the wines we'd been getting in France. Partly this was lack of local knowledge and partly an unwillingness to pay such high prices for many wines that wouldn't raise much of an eyebrow in Australia. However on this day we decided to splurge on a pinot grigio wine from the Alsace region. Our very easy going but wonderfully efficient waiter indicated we'd made an excellent choice for our meal by both his words and his body language. And so it proved. All in all, this was our most relaxed and enjoyable meal in France. We simply loved it and Brian's tummy survived the test.

An old sailing longboat at its mooring in St Jean de Luz harbour.

A 9.30pm sunset as a trawler sails out for a night of fishing

Beach surveillance in St Jean de Luz. Life guards taking it easy.

The magical scene from our hotel balcony in St Jean de Luz.

Lynn with an ice cream in each hand outside cute little Basque hotel

The seafood was great so Lynn ordered herself a second serving

Navigation beacon on Headland in St Jean de Luz

Ever felt you had the weight of the world on your shoulders?

There is a lot more interesting stuff regarding St Jean de Luz including some videos and sound files. The last few days of our holiday were filled with some special fun and excitement. There are several more web pages devoted to these events which we'd like to share with you so please click through to the next page now.