French Basque Country: A Cultural Blend

published 8 years ago by Rick Steves

The land where Spain and France meet the Atlantic is Basque Country. Compared to their more stridently Basque neighbors across the border in Spain, Basques living in France seem more integrated into French culture. Nestled in the Pyrenees, St.-Jean-Pied-de-Port has an endearing energy, with its mix of day tripping families and determined pilgrims using the town as a springboard for the time honored pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in NW Spain, 500 miles away. Visit Bayonne on the coast to feel the region's urban pulse. The cathedral marks the town's old center where tall, slender buildings, decorated with typically Basque green-and-red shutters, tower above narrow streets. For more information on the Rick Steves' Europe TV series — including episode descriptions, scripts, participating stations, travel information on destinations and more — visit

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