The French Basque Coast : Hendaye In Pictures

"The Two Twins" Better Known In English As The Jumeaux Rocks

 These two high rocks  have been carved out of the cliffs by wave action
These two high rocks have been carved out of the cliffs by wave action | Source

The French Basque Country

Hendaye or Hendaia in Basque; is the most south-westerly town in France and it is a popular beach resort on the Atlantic coast on what is known as The Basque Country.

I have a special attachment to the Basque country. Ever since I first stepped there I felt at ease; maybe because of the natural beauty of the scenery, maybe because of its delicious culinary tradition or maybe even because my ancestors came from this part of the world. Whatever the reason that pulls me back year after year to the Basque country I want to share with you some of the most beautiful images of the Basque Coast.

The French Basque Country situated within the western part of the French department of the Pyrénées-Atlantiques constitutes the north-eastern part of the Basque Country.

The French Basque Country

The French Basque Country, or Iparralde, is famed for the glitzy beach resort of Biarritz, where surfers strut their stuff in the waves and sun worshipers pack its beaches. But the region offers so much more than just the pleasures of sun and surf. The Basque country has many other less tourist-packed towns such as Hendaye.


Hendaye


Hendaye is a coastal French town situated on the North Basque country or Iparralde as the Basques call the French Basque country.

These photos of Hendaye in the Basque country were taken in February 2012. Notice that despite being winter, the sky was blue and the sea as pretty as ever. This is the first time I took a walk in Hendaye along with my little ones to discover the Basque coast from a different angle. It was a long walk along the Domaine d'Abbadia and later on along the streets of Hendaye but the children never complained about the distance as they found something to admire at almost every step. From a medieval looking castle, wild animals, surfers on the most unexpected shores, cliffs, creeks and bays to ancient fruit trees and the most amazing rock formations.


Le Domaine d’Abbadia

The Domaine d’Abbadia belongs to the Littoral Conservatory. Its 65 hectares are open to the public from February to December.


The basque Country

The Basque Country (Activity and Leisure Holiday Guides)
The Basque Country (Activity and Leisure Holiday Guides)

The Basque country straddles both France and Spain, but its strong sense of a distinct and separate nationhood gives it a very different identity, making a stay in this region quite unique.

 

French Basque Coast : Littoral Basque

Notice how the sign is both in French and Basque
Notice how the sign is both in French and Basque | Source

The 2 twins

Rochers des "2 Jumeaux"

These are the 2 steep rock formations located on the sea at the end of the Hendaye beach near the domaine d’Abbadia. Our guide explained to us that they are called the 2 twins because in Basque you always have to say the number first, so even if the word “twins” assumes that there are two individuals, in Basque you have to say the two twins. Of exceptional beauty, the two twins are protected by the Littoral conservatory.

The 2 Twins Rochers Des 2 Jumeaux

Les deux jumeaux
Les deux jumeaux | Source
Source
The children loved the 2 twins and couldn't get enough questions to our guide about its origins, its funny name and more important, how could they get there!
The children loved the 2 twins and couldn't get enough questions to our guide about its origins, its funny name and more important, how could they get there! | Source

Exploring The Rocks

La Corniche Basque
La Corniche Basque | Source

Larretxea

Larretxea is a Basque world meaning Landes’ house. An ancient farmhouse, now this is the place for exhibitions and information about the area.


Domaine d'Abbadia

The Fruit Collection

The Abbadia Domain also houses a conservatory project of local fruit trees, specially the apple. Here you can find a collection of around 100 apple trees and 50 cherry trees among prune trees and other fruit trees characteristics of this area.


The Fruit Conservatory

Source
Source

The Rough Guide Snapshot to the Pyrenees is the ultimate travel guide to this craggy mountainous region

The Château Observatoire Abbadia

A site beyond your imagination !

The observatory castle was built by one of France’s most popular architects Eugene Viollet-le-Duc between 1864 and 1879. The building is absolutely beautiful to admire, inspired by Middle age castles. The chateau Observatory Abbadia belonged to Antoine d’Abbadia a strong defender of the Basque culture. After his death on 1897 the chateau became the property of de French Science Academy.

Unfortunately we didn’t have enough time to visit the interior of the castle, all we saw was the outside walls of the castle which are beautifully decorated with stone sculptures such as cats playing with mice, elephants or monkeys. The castle is surrounded by a park of palm trees and views of the ocean and the mountains.

The Observatory Abbadia Castle in Hendaye

The seafront Château of Antoine d'Abbadie, built by the architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc is a monument of  Gothic Revival.
The seafront Château of Antoine d'Abbadie, built by the architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc is a monument of Gothic Revival. | Source
Battlements, towers and keep make the building look like a medieval castle.
Battlements, towers and keep make the building look like a medieval castle. | Source
The outside walls of the castle are particularly decorated. There are many stone sculptures such as cats playing with mice, elephants, monkeys or snakes.
The outside walls of the castle are particularly decorated. There are many stone sculptures such as cats playing with mice, elephants, monkeys or snakes. | Source
Source
Source

How To Get To The Abbadia Castle

Hendaye is only 2h from Bordeaux and 3h from Toulouse thanks to the motorways A63 and A64. To reach easily the Abbadia Castle, take exit n°2 "St Jean de Luz Sud" of the A63 and follow "route de la Corniche Basque" signs.

Observatory Castle Of Abbadia, Hendaye

Surprising Wildlife: A Herbivorous River Rat

A ragondin or river rat.  Adults are typically 5–9 kg (11–20 lb) in weight.  An individual consumes about 25% of its body weight daily!
A ragondin or river rat. Adults are typically 5–9 kg (11–20 lb) in weight. An individual consumes about 25% of its body weight daily! | Source

The Beach Is Also A Good Place To Do Art With Whatever You Can Find

children working on a "sculpture" made of sticks brought by the tides
children working on a "sculpture" made of sticks brought by the tides | Source
Source

Hendaye Beach

Hendaye boasts a 3km long beach of fine white sands. During the summer the Hendaye beach becomes Handiplage to emphasize the infrastructure put in place free of charge for the diverse handicapped visitors. The facilities include information panels in Braille, brochures in big typos, buggies at the beach, etc.


Hendaye Beach During The Winter

Hendaye Beach seen from the Domaine d'Abbadia
Hendaye Beach seen from the Domaine d'Abbadia | Source
Beach at Hendaye with sea view restaurant
Beach at Hendaye with sea view restaurant | Source
Source

Surfers In Hendaye

Notice that surfers are on the right hand side corner
Notice that surfers are on the right hand side corner | Source
Surfing in the Basque country next to the Two Twins
Surfing in the Basque country next to the Two Twins | Source

The Belharra Wave


The Belharra Wave, aka Mammouth happens on the French Basque Country approximately 2km of the coast of Saint Jean-de-Luz. It is one of the best big waves in Europe; starts breaking at 12ft and can reach heights of 60ft+, and no one knows how big it could get.

The name of this immense wave refers to the rocky spur which enables it to form: the Belharra Perdun.This wave is only surfed by experts who are towed out by a water scooter. This giant only raises its head a handful of times a year, so I hope I can see it by myself on my next trip, I have heard amazing stories about its power, speed and shear brute force. I am more than looking forwards to see it.


Surfing Belharra (French Basque Country) a reef and a surf spot

The Belharra Wave

The 8-15 metres wave forms northwest of the bay of Saint-Jean-de-Luz between Socoa and Hendaye, about 2.5 kilometers from the coast

Euskara

The Euskara is the name to designate the Basque language. To avoid the death of Euskara, Hendaye has a bilingual politic in the form of equal opportunities for both languages: French and Basque. This is why public signs are both in French and Basque. A great initiative to keep alive the oldest West European language still spoken by more than 63,000 people in France and more than 734,000 people in Spain.


French-Basque Bilingual Speakers

The proportion of French-Basque bilingual speakers fell from 26.4% in 1996 to 22.5% in 2006.

Bilingual Signs

French and Euskara live happily toguether in the streets of Hendaye
French and Euskara live happily toguether in the streets of Hendaye | Source

How To Get To Hendaye

How to get to Hendaye:

Hendaye is only 2h from Bordeaux and

3h from Toulouse by motorways A63 and A64.

Where Is Hendaye? A French Basque Town Only A Walk Away From The Spanish Basque Country.

A markerHendaye -
Hendaye, France
[get directions]

Great Cross of Hendaye Uses the work of 20th-century alchemist Fulcanelli to predict the date of the fatal season of the apocalypse

Hendaye Tourism

What To Eat In Hendaye? Churros Of Course

After a long walk discovering the French Basque Coast a well deserved handful of Churros!
After a long walk discovering the French Basque Coast a well deserved handful of Churros!

More by this Author


Have you ever been to the Basque country? 11 comments

mecheshier profile image

mecheshier 4 years ago

Wow, what a fabulous Hub. Amazing pics and info. My ancestors also came from the French Basque country. I have yet to visit but will someday. Thank you for sharing. Voted up for interesting and awesome.


vox vocis profile image

vox vocis 4 years ago

Beautiful photos! It's not surprising that you are pulled back to the Basque country every year.


europewalker profile image

europewalker 4 years ago

Lovely hub! The photos are so beautiful, sure would love to visit there. Awesome!


drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida

Thank you for this fascinating tour of the north Basque Country, Wendy. Your images are stunning.


Simba73 profile image

Simba73 4 years ago from UK

This place is truly one of the worlds best secrets, the surf is awesome the people amazing and at the festival that go from town to town in the summer, you will never be made more welcome and forced to dance party and enjoy, the Basque people are truly wonderful, this area will be a surfers trip to never forget.

Simba


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 4 years ago from Southern California, USA

French Basque country looks beautiful and stunning. I would love to gaze upon that coastline, which is amazing. At my university I went to our local fruit conservancy, which specializes in citrus. They gave us all this sample of an orange that they said would not be on the market for twenty more years, and it was the most delicious thing I have ever tasted.


Princessa profile image

Princessa 4 years ago from France Author

mecheshier: thanks for the votes. I hope one day you can come to the Basque country and trace back your ancestors. I have found very difficult to trace back mine but I discovered beautiful places and wonderful people in the process.

vox vocis: so far I love everything about the area: the people, the scenary, the food, the festivities... even the moody weather!

europewalker: if you are ever nearby it is sure a place that deserves a detour.

drbj: it was a pleasure :-)

Simba73: The whole Basque coast is a treasure for surfers and the best thing is that there is plenty of room for everyone, these places are hardly packed.

SweetiePie: That was amazing, I bet that orange was "out of this world".


heather(lola) 4 years ago

i love you mummy you are the best je t aime maman cherie you are the best riter of hubpages bisous bisous your article is great (like all of them) your fotos are great and you are a great mummy ;) i love u


Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 4 years ago from Ontario/Canada

What a beautiful country site. The great pictures make me want to go visiting too. (voted up and beautiful)

Hope you and your gang are well

regards

Zsuzsy


Princessa profile image

Princessa 4 years ago from France Author

Hello Zsuzsy: thanks for the visit, we are all keeping well, enjoying a couple of months in Spain before going back to school.

The French and Spanish Basque coast are really amazing, a place worth a visit.

Take care, xxx


prasadjain profile image

prasadjain 3 years ago from Tumkur

An attractive hub.The culture and landscape of the place could be well understood by this. Couple of photos could be removed.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working