St. Jean de Luz Birthday

October 16, 2009 By: erik Category: Beach, France, Photos, Travel 493 views

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St. Jean de Luz HarborOn the way back from Bordeaux, we spent Monday, my thirty-first birthday, in St. Jean de Luz, in southern France. In fact, St. Jean de Luz is part of the French Basque Country. It was strange for us, regular visitors to the Spanish Basque Country, to see the Basque flag and hear French being spoken. The truth is, however, we heard very little French spoken. Since October 12th is Spain’s National Day, the entire town was crawling with Spaniards on holiday. St. Jean de Luz’s primary attraction is its semi-circular beach. Originally a fishing villiage, it became a popular destination for wealthy Brits in the nineteenth century and now has a thriving tourism industry.

The day was a considerable letdown for us. Not only was the weather a little drizzly, but we had just been to the beautiful medieval Saint Émilion the day before, and St. Jean de Luz was quite lackluster in comparison. Also, we live in a fishing village right next to a beach a hundred times better than that of St. Jean de Luz, so why would we want to spend a day in a similar town filled with Spaniards when we could be at home doing the same thing? We had lunch, went to the tourism office, realized there weren’t any sights we wanted to see, and headed home.

Saint Jean de Luz
This is St. Jean de Luz’s semi-circular beach as seen from the air.

St. Jean de Luz Beach Panorama
Cloudy beach panorama.

St. Jean de Luz Beach Panorama
Later the sun came out so I had to take another panoramic shot.

Cute French Hat
We really wanted to buy this í¼ber-French hat for Nora, but the shop was closed when we walked by it, and after lunch we forgot to go back for it.

St. Jean de Luz Harbor
St. Jean de Luz Harbor

St. Jean de Luz Harbor
A thirty-one year old in St. Jean de Luz.

  • Paul

    “We had lunch, went to the tourism office, realized there weren\’t any sights we wanted to see, and headed home”

    I’m guessing that sentence has never been written about St. Jean de Luz before. Were you missing Nora badly?

  • Erik, great blog. Sorry you didn’t enjoiy St Jean de Luz, you must have caught it on an off day. I’ve been here a year and each day has offered a new adventure. Perhaps I am just enjoying having no other Brits around, I think I heard three over the summer! Will have to check out your area, it looks wonderful.

    • Thanks, Chris! It’s not that St. Jean de Luz wasn’t beautiful. It was. It’s just so similar to where we live that it wasn’t impressive and as foreign as you’d like when you cross a national border. It’s kind of like someone who lives in Aruba visiting Jamaica.

      I may be biased, but Laredo’s beach kicks Biarritz’s and St. Jean de Luz’s beaches’ asses. It’s about a 2-hour drive (and about 1000€ in tolls) from you.