Bayonne France is a super beautiful small city.
The city is mostly known for its ham, Fetes de Bayonne and chocolate. Doesn’t sound too bad?
Well, if you like small, french cities this place is for you!
The city is packed with the cutest houses, with wooden parts and colorful shutters for the windows. Furthermore, Bayonne is the capital of French Basque Country and you feel the Basque connection everywhere you go. It is very different from its neighbour Biarritz, but just as wonderful .
Bayonne has three main parts:
Grand Bayonne, Petit Bayonne & Saint-Esprit. We visited all three of them and I think walking around the different areas was quite nice. Each area of the town are very different, which I think is really cool.
Here are my guide to each area of Bayonne
Old meets commercial: Grand Bayonne
Here you’ll see the oldest part of the city, that is now transformed into the town’s commercial heart.
We started our visit in this area with a visit to the cathedral called Cathédrale Sainte-Marie. You can see the spires of the cathedral almost from every part of the city, since it is very tall.
As we walked inside,
we realized that the cathedral is also beautiful on the inside. It has amazingly well-decorated roofs painted in red and green. Also it has some of the most beautiful glass mosaics in the windows.
To get crêpes is a must when visiting France!
After our visit to the cathedral, we got crêpes at the cutest little crêperie. When in France, right?
The creperie was super cozy, with wooden walls and cute decorations everywhere. The place is called A la Bolée and is located near the cathedral. They served all sorts of different crepes, both sweet and savory. I got one with caramel, almonds and nuts. It was so gooood!
Walking through the area was like walking back in time,
We took a walk through the area and enjoyed looking at the beautiful buildings and all the cute little shops found everywhere. The buildings are all very old, but well-maintained, so it was almost like walking back in time.
Bayonne France had some flags up in the streets, which I think contributed with a festive atmosphere.
Later we took a quick look at the market called “Les Halles Bayonne“.
The market is pretty small, but filled with delicacies of all kinds. I love going to food-markets and can spend forever walking around the different stalls. Unfortunately I didn’t take any pictures to share with you guys, so you have to go and experience it yourself!
Through Bayonne runs a river.
Right next to that river is the City Hall. The city hall is a huge building and it looks super powerful. The six statues on top of the building represents the six artistic and economic activities in the city
We wanted to visit the Jardin Botanique but,
unfortunately it was closed off for the season just a couple of days before our visit. Such a shame. Would have loved to experience it, as the green area just before you enter is absolutely wonderful.
Another beautiful neighborhood: Petit Bayonne
Petit Bayonne is on the other side of the river from Grand Bayonne.
Achitecture-wise, it reminds me a lot of the previously described neighbourhood. The main difference between them is that Petit Bayonne is not quite as commercial and it has a lot more restaurants, which is something you want to visit in Bayonne France.
We tried to get a table for lunch in this area but,
the restaurants we had looked up from home had already closed their kitchens, when we arrived, so we had to change our plans. We asked some locals for their best advice on where to have lunch. The problem was that it was “late” to eat lunch, when we felt like it.
Our stomachs, that were used to Spanish eating times, which are much later, were simply not hungry early enough. We did manage to find a good place to eat though. We visited Pitaya, who’s kitchen were still open. The food there was great and there was a lot of it! I love asian food in general and especially thai, as you might have noticed from my thailand posts. It was definitely a good decision to go there!
I would have loved to try some more local food though, but that must be for another time.
We took a stroll around the area and saw Paroisse Notre-Dame de l’Assomption, which is another big and beautiful church. We did not walk into this one, but it was quite impressive from the outside.
The hipster area: Saint-Esprit
I liked this area quite a lot. Besides the city’s train station, which is an amazingly beautiful building, this area is filled with second hand stores and art of different kinds. In the streets, there were hanging different installations too, which contributed to a hipster feeling in this neighborhood.
I feel as if this part of the city has a lot of hidden gems, just waiting to be discovered. I would love to go back here one day and take the time to go to all of the small shops and narrow side-streets.
Another cool thing about this part of town
is that you can walk along the river and see the “skyline” of Bayonne France, with the spires of Cathédrale Sainte-Marie rising over all the other buildings. I think it was a really cool way to see the city!
A trip to Bayonne France is highly recommendable if you like to experience a city, that feels more like a small town. The city has everything from cosy houses to great food. I loved it!
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