My visit to Saint Jean de Luz in the south of France, just north of Spain, was on a cruise a couple of years ago. As I wandered the streets of this Basque coastal fishing village, I really enjoyed the quaint shopping area as well as the restaurants which specialize in local basque cuisine. The town also boasts a pristine beach and as well as the country’s largest Basque church, St.-Jean-Baptiste. On a quick tour of the church I learned that it is the church where Louis XIV and Marie-Thérèse of Spain were married in 1660. The door through which they entered and exited, was sealed after their ceremony and remains sealed to this day.
Although I visited in June, the town hosts a huge celebration each year on the Saturday nearest August 15th. La Nuit de la Sardine, which translates literally as Night of the Sardine celebrates the town’s fishing culture and features music, folklore and dancing in honor of one of the area’s biggest fishing catches, the sardine.
There is much to see in this region of France, with side trips to Biarritz and if you have the time, a day or two in San Sebastian, Spain. In this region you will experience the more sultry and spanish influences in the wines and the delicious seafood. Take some time like I did, and just sit on the beach and enjoy the view. It’s breathtaking!