itineraire-pays-basque

A full-immersion tour of French Basque Country

History and heritageAround the art

Tour a typical part of the Basque region bursting with culture and heritage through châteaux, wine tasting sessions and strolls along the coast. Esprit de France is delighted to show you the South-West of France from a historical, artistic and oenotouristic angle. We recommend staying at the Château d'Urtubie during this tour.


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  • 4 days
    4 nights
  • Stages: 
    6
    803 km
  • From
    380€
    (double
    occupancy)
  • Spring Summer Autumn Winter

Step by step

  • D1

    A day in Bordeaux

    Km to Km

    The tour starts at Bordeaux, the reputed heart of the wine growing region. Bordeaux was originally a small village inhabited by 1st century Gauls. Explore the city which has become as reputed for its architecture as its wines. Begin by visiting the interesting Contemporary Art Museum which opened inside an old colonial goods warehouse converted by Jean Louis Froment in 1973 to see over 1,400 works by artists such as Keith Haring and Richard Long. The works show how time influenced painters' artistic imagination. We also suggest a trip to Bordeaux's decorative arts & design museum. Located in a stately townhouse, it was initially transformed into an aristocratic residence before becoming a major venue for design lovers during the Age of Enlightment. Private and institutional collections are permanently on show. Stop for a while at the Girondins Monument, a bronze statue in a square built between 1894 and 1902 in tribute to 22 Girondin deputies executed during the Revolution for conspiring against the Republic. To end the day, go to the Saint Pierre district where the old stock exchange a stood at La place de la Bourse to soak up the beauty of the old historical centre and the outstanding 17th century architecture. 

    1st night at the charming Château d’Urtubie in the heart of the Basque Country.

  • D2

    From the Château d'Urtubie to the Dune du Pilat

    Km to Km

    Begin the day by the sea at the Dune of Pilat, the tallest and entirely natural sand dune in Europe. Rivers have been depositing sand for thousands of years here and the dune has grown into a small hill. Dunes are formed when an object, such as vegetation, is encountered. As the wind blows the sand it moves, stunning sculpturing the everchanging dune. Next chose one of the 6 Bordeaux wine routes for the afternoon such as Médoc, Sauternes and Saint-Emilion, all ideal for wine and nature lovers. We recommend the route des Châteaux en Médoc as it crosses two rivers and suggest stopping for a tasting session at one of the Châteaux. The Pauillac, Margaux and Saint Estèphe vineyards are also found in this world famous wine growing region and visits teach us how good wine is made. The owners adore sharing their knowledge in the vineyards besides their historical homes.

    2nd night at the charming Château d’Urtubie in the heart of the Basque Country.

  • D3

    In the heart of the Pays Basque

    Km to Km

    The Maison du Fou in Ascain is an interesting place to start the day. The unusual house was built in the 1930s by Ferdinand Pinney Earle, a Hollywood film set designer and decorator. The round architecture, inspired by the Puebloan constructions, can be seen from the Roman bridge in Ascain. The Native Americans feared evil spirits and believed they hid in corners, therefore Earle designed very convexe walls without corners. Continue onto Saint Jean de Luz in the heart of the Basque Country where culture equals history, Art and gastronomy. Follow Louis XIV's footsteps into Saint Baptiste church, where he was married to Maria Theresa of Spain in 1660 and then see the Maison Louis XIV where the royal couple stayed for 40 days. 350 different paintings and pieces of furniture are on show at the residence which has been owned by the same family for centuries. There is an excellent view of the old houses in the town from the picturesque fishing port. To end the day in style, head for Biarritz, the surfing capital of Europe to enjoy the view of Anglet and the Atlantic horizon from Biarritz lighthouse. Then walk down to the main beach and see the E-shaped Palais de l’Impératrice Eugénie built by Napoléon III and the mini-golf. Not forgetting the Byzantine-style Orthodox church with decorations from Saint Petersburg, built in 1892 at the request of Alexander III of Russia, before going out to the Virgin on the Rock (Rocher de la Vierge) to watch the sun set magnificently over the Spanish coastline.

    3rd night at the charming Château d’Urtubie in the heart of the Basque Country.

  • D4

    From the Château d'Urtubie to the Spanish Basque Country

    Km to Km

    We suggest spending the last day in the Spanish town of Bilbao, starting with a visit to the Guggenheim Museum. The building was designed by architect Frank Gehry and opened in 1997. The architecture is a work of Art itself, massive (258,000 sq ft) with stunning curves. The Atrium is the bright centre of the museum which opens onto the glass canopy at the top of the building. Works dating from the 1950s to modern day such as 24 Heads painted by Antonio Saure in 1957 and A Matter of Time metal sculpture by Richard Serra (1994-2005) are on show in this section. Continue towards the Casco Viejo old town where visitors can stroll around the lanes and enjoy the historical atmosphere. Wander through the pedestrian centre to Ribera Market, the largest fresh produce market in Europe. A stop at Bilbao's Fine Arts museum is compulsory. Two separate buildings built in 1914 and 1925 make up the museum which opened in 1945. The permanent collection includes works of art and portraits by Gauguin and Goya. There are also several visiting exhibitions to see.

    4th night at the charming Château d’Urtubie in the heart of the Basque Country.