Let’s Travel! Basque Country – A Day in Saint-Jean-de- Luz

Bonjour and happy French Friday! I debated on whether to share this as a French Friday post or a Travel post and I finally decided on Travel since it was part of our Basque Country trip.


Saint-Jean-de-Luz (or St-Jean-deLuz) is on the French side of the Basque Country or in southwest France and is about a 45 minute drive from San Sebastian. I first found out St- Jean-de-Luz about three years ago after following a few Instagram accounts (@wanderwonders and @madamelacoste). I loved how quaint the town looked like through their photos and the beach looked amazing. I did a little research and found out it was part of the Basque Country.  So when we were planning our trip, I made sure we do a day trip here.

We arrived on a rainy morning and the town felt empty.  Maybe because we parked our car a bit away from the center of town. We also arrived later in the morning and missed all the market action at Les Halles. But when the sun came out, the town filled up with people walking the quaint streets of Rue de la Republique and Rue Gambetta. We had lunch at restaurant on Rue de la Republic, watched people walk by, and planned our little adventure for the rest of the day.

As a Francophile I was so happy to be here! Although it is a small Basque town, it had the “French” feel and its own character. Everyone was speaking French (I had to switch from Spanish mode to French mode with a lot of English in between). There were so many cute shops that I wanted to buy everything in sight. There was even a Monoprix, where I got to pick up some French snacks.

St. Jean De Luz is quite different from San Sebastian (see my San Sebastian post here). First of all, they are both in different countries (France and Spain, respectively), even though they are both part of the Basque Country.  Secondly, St. Jean De Luz is smaller but just as beautiful. Finally, there seemed to be more French spoken than Basque. But let’s stop comparing for now. I love both cities just the same for each of their unique characteristics. It’s for these reasons that I love the Basque Country so much….every city has its own personality, which makes the trip even more interesting to do lots of exploring.

Our day in St. Jean De Luz was pretty laid back, which was a perfect vacation day for us. I wanted to eat and/or buy everything in sight. Charlie and I decided that if we ever return to Basque Country, we would stay in St-Jean-de-Luz for a few days because one day was too short to take it all in. Now I know why a lot of Parisians take holidays or retire here.

St. Jean De Luz Highlights

Maison Adam – Original Macarons

When I did some planning for our trip, I found out that Maison Adam has been making their macaron using the family’s original recipe since 1660! For some reason, I’m thinking this was the original macaron (and nothing like the ones you find in Paris).  They were only a euro each and tasted so good (not too sweet and just the right about of softness). Of course I had to buy a whole box…since I loved the vintage looking tin box that they used to put all the macarons in! I finished all the macarons in the box in a matter of days.


Paries – Caramel

Our next stop was Paries where we bought more macarons (similar to the modern day ones), caramel, and a gateau basque (baked tart with cream or cherry filling). Needless to say, our day in St-Jean-de-Luz was centered around eating all these treats.


The beach

Although it wasn’t quite beach weather, we walked to the beach in St-Jean-de-Luz and enjoyed our treats that we got. We did more people watching and made a promise to come back during the summer to sit out in our bathing suits and take a swim in the water.

Shopping – espadrilles, beach bags, and linge Basque

I couldn’t resist doing a little shopping while in St-Jean-de-Luz. I walked into the the espadrille store of espadrille store! I ended up getting a pair! We walked by the many shops selling beach bags and I so regret getting the bag that had “Madame a la Plage” on it (I mean…that is so me, right?).  Looking back, I wished I had purchased a linge Basque while there too, which are cotton linens like table cloths, dish linens, etc. They would’ve been perfect accents for the home. Sigh…I guess that means I’ll just have to go back.

Our next trip to St-Jean-de-Luz will be a longer one where we get to enjoy the beach and the many restaurants we passed up. I could stay in this town and take pictures and eat all day.


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