Join the Festivities at a major Basque party this summer!

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April 2014

The annual Fêtes de Bayonne comprises a series of festivals, which always start on the Wednesday before the first Sunday of August, so taking place this year from 23rd – 27thJuly. Dating back to 1932, they were originally started by players in the Aviron Bayonnais rugby club, wanting to create a festival modelled on the famous Basque Festival di San Fermin (the Running of the Bulls) in Pamplona, Spain. Over the years, it has become the largest and most popular festival in France, with the many events including music and street performances, traditional dances, parades, and fireworks, as well as the bull (cows in this instance) racing and a bull fight, as well as plenty to attract those with foodie interests as well.

On the Wednesday morning, the festival begins with the Foulée du Festayre race which starts from the Côte des Basques Beach in Biarritz, 8 kms from Bayonne, and is followed by an Omelette making competition at the Bayonne city market, using local eggs and espelette, a locally-grown spicy chilli. That evening the festivities begin in earnest when, at 10 pm, the keys of the town are thrown from the city hall balcony by the festival’s mascot King Leon, a large comic book figure, to the people gathered down in the square below – quite a spectacle with most of the crowd wearing traditional Basque colours of red and white, and getting in the mood for the next few days of non-stop partying!

On the Thursday, there are many events for children, including large cartoon-type figures who walk the streets, and a special bull run with papier mâché bulls on wheels. There is also the Choco Yamboun which celebrates the delicious chocolate made in Bayonne. From Friday to Sunday, there is ‘bull’ (cow) running, with the main Saturday events being the spectacular parade of drummers, and the big carnival parade in the evening. On the Sunday afternoon there is bullfighting event in the city’s bullring, before the festival ends in the evening with a beautiful firework display.

Where to Stay:

Properties in Biarritz

The smart up-market town of Biarritz is one of the principle resorts on the Côte Basque, located right near the coast.

Le Plateau

A fabulous modern apartment, with an amazing panoramic sea view, right in the heart of Biarritz. Here,, you are just steps from Biarritz’s pristine beaches, the wharf, the aquarium, and a host of restaurants, bars, cafes, and markets like “Les Halles,” where you’ll find fresh ingredients like seafood, traditional regional dishes, and world cuisine.


A stay at any of our Biarritz properties includes a complimentary Market Lunch Tour in Biarritz.

Suggested properties

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