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A Visit to Saint Jean de Luz

Saint Jean de Luz is often overlooked due to its glitzier and more famous neighbour, Biarritz.

Saint Jean-de-Luz is a delightful and attractive fishing town which should not be missed when visiting France’s Basque country.

The town is located on the beautiful Basque coastline.

Saint Jean-de-Luz was once one of the most important fishing ports in France, and an important base for the daring 17th century Basque corsairs with

The town is also immersed in royal history. This is because it was in Saint Jean-de-Luz that the Sun King Louis XIV famously married Maria Theresa of Austria, Infanta of Spain, back in 1660.

If you visit the town, you will be able to visit the 17th century mansion where the marriage took place, it is  now called Maison Louis XIV.

Saint Jean-de-Luz is now better known as a popular seaside resort. It attracts families and couples looking for a lively but more a unglamorous destination than nearby Biarritz.

One of the main attractions is the town’s family-friendly sandy beach. The beach  is framed by 17th century Basque architecture and the Promenade Jacques Thibault.

The beach is  known as la grande plage, or the big beach. It has calm waves that makes it suitable for swimming at all ages. There are also plenty of activities for kids that take place on the sand.

If you like the place and would like to stay longer,  you will also have time to explore the area’s four smaller beaches. The beaches offer r activities like surfing, sailing and diving.

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Points of Interest

There is a working port which was used back as far as the 15th century. This was when the fisherman would take out their boats to fish for cod. The port is now  used to fish for anchovy, tuna and hake.  The fish that is caught there is of high qualityand you can buy the fish from fishmongers is found in Saint Jean-de-Luz’s covered market. You can have great  photo opportunities in the city.

You will get to see two almost Art Deco-style lighthouses by architect André Pavlovsky, called les feux des Saint-Jean-de-Luz at Ciboure.


You will also get to see  the one by the port with a bold red stripe, it specifies to sailors it is the Saint Jean-de-Luz lighthouse. Just  across the water in Ciboure the monument has a green stripe. Also you will have to take a cliff side walk into town if you decide to stay at La Réserve Saint Jean-de-Luz . the walk will expose you to a fantastic view of the beach, especially at sundown. Also consider taking a walk up the steep to see the Chapelle Sainte-Barbe on Pointe de Sainte-Barbe. This is a small all-white building which cuts an outstanding figure on the top of the hill, it makes for a photogenic spot.


Checkout Hotel Parc Victoria, it is one of the most luxurious hotels in the area.  It is a beautiful five-star property and Relais & Chateaux member. Also check out the La Réserve Saint Jean-de-Luz (Pointe Sainte Barbe, 1 Avenue Gaëtan Bernoville) if you like getting out of town

Author: louisianamuseums