The French Basque Coast : Hendaye In Pictures
"The Two Twins" Better Known In English As The Jumeaux Rocks
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 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 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
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
Exploring The Rocks
Larretxea is a Basque world meaning Landes’ house. An ancient farmhouse, now this is the place for exhibitions and information about the area.
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
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
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
The Beach Is Also A Good Place To Do Art With Whatever You Can Find
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
Surfers In Hendaye
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
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.
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.
Great Cross of Hendaye Uses the work of 20th-century alchemist Fulcanelli to predict the date of the fatal season of the apocalypse
More information about Hendaye and the Great Cross of Hendaye
Hendaye's town square is the location of the famous seventeenth century "Great Cross of Hendaye", a stone cross carved with alchemical symbols that occultists find to contain encrypted information on a future global catastrophe