The Best of French Basque Country: St-Jean de Luz
Where Biarritz is flashy and grand, St-Jean is a colorful and casual Basque fishing port, though still brimming with gorgeous boutiques on the pedestrian rue Gambetta and surrounded by pretty beaches. When I return to the Pays Basque (I don't want to miss the Fete de Bayonne or the chocolate festival!), it will be for a holiday at this heavenly town, where the colorfully-shuttered Basque houses stand tall above the river, small alleyways, and oceanside promenade.
Groggy from a late night on the town in Biarritz, we savored delicious cafe au lait and hot chocolate at a cute cafe, then strolled the streets, and shopped the outrageously expensive boutiques. (EUR 15 for a sliver of organic, homemade soap, anyone?) The Basque church Eglise St-Jean Baptiste is awesome; this is the spot where Louis XIV and Maria Terese of Spain were married in the 17th century. The sun peeked from the clouds for all of 10 minutes, what a tease. Then we headed south towards the Spanish border.