My French Voyage Basque Country
Basque is the perfect balance between the ocean and the mountains - lined with sandy beaches and vertiginous cliffs, making for an exceptionally beautiful region to visit with our 7-day all-inclusive tour.
From resort towns near the sea to the sacred villages of the interior, Basque is a place of contrasts.
Edged by the brilliant blue Bay of Biscay and the craggy foothills of the Pyrenees, the Pays Basque (Basque Country) feels one step removed from the rest of France – which is hardly surprising, since it's been an independent nation for much of its history and has more in common with the nearby Basque regions of Spain.
Proud, independent and fiery, the people of the Basque Country are fiercely protective of their history and culture, whether it's their passion for pelota or their fondness for their spicy chilli pepper, le piment d'Espelette.
“The week was perfectly organised, Francois knew so much about this stunning region and the activities were fantastic, showing us the true and authentic France!” - Peter and Michelle, 2019, Adelaide AU
“We spent a memorable week in between the coast, the mountains and the countryside. The selection of local restaurants was amazing and we absolutely loved the cooking classes. We will definitely go on another My French Voyage tour very soon.” - Mike and Pam, 2019, Washington USA
Your Gourmet Adventure in BAsque Country
Coloured by the flavours of nearby Spain and the traditional tastes of the Pyrenees, the food and wine of the Basque country boasts a long and illustrious history. Highlights of our 7-day-all-inclusive tour include:
Tasting the famed Espelette chilli pepper, pride of the Basque Country. Red, lustrous, gently spiced and full of fruity flavour, it forms the basis of many Basque recipes, including the famous piperade, an omelette of peppers and tomatoes.
Enjoying jambon de Bayonne, well known to be one of the best hams in the world! Our guide, Pierre, will show you how this beautiful meat is produced – from field to the plate.
The local culinary scene is a combination of French and Spanish dishes and you will get to enjoy it as part of our tour. Vibrant and brightly coloured, sea fish is a hero ingredient in the cuisine of the Basque coast, as well as the dish of marmitako, a stew of Atlantic tuna fish cooked with olive oil and vegetables, and a plate of chipirons, small local squid served in their ink or with a serving of onion and pepper marmalade.
As well as the pork used for making ham and charcuterie, other meats also occupy an important place in Basque cuisine. Poulet Basquaise is a dish of chicken pieces sautéed with onions and peppers, then cooked slowly with a glass of white wine.
A trip to this region would not be complete, without trying the famous dessert of gâteau basque - filled with custard or, more traditionally blackberry jam.
We will also visit Bayonne, Biarritz, Saint Jean de Luz and St Jean Pied de Port markets and fill our baskets with cheeses, fresh vegetables and seafood.
At the end of our days, we will sample a few pintxos (or snacks, like our Spanish cousins) pairing with a glass or two of Irouléguy, the only AOC-certified vineyard in the Basque Country.
You will visit two of our favourite restaurants in France. The first, Chez Mattin in a small Ciboure village. On the menu, duck confit, their legendary ttoro (pronounced “tioro”), an excellent, spicy multi-fish ragout (conger, hake, monkfish, with mussels and langoustines as well) served in the pot it was cooked in. The second in Navarre mountains, close to the Spanish border, where you will enjoy locally produced sheep’s milk cheeses from Iraty, seated on the terrace around a pink sandstone table, perfect croquettes (ham and salt cod) superb plancha-grilled cod with potatoes, sweet chilies, parsley and onion, and finally a homemade “bukatzeko etxeko gozoak” (dessert) - a rich chocolate tart.
Sweet or savoury, everything in the Basque country is an excuse for playing with flavours and having a party. Each evening Francois will cook dinner for you (and with you, for those who want) using local recipes and seasonal produce. The menu will vary from night to night based on what you and the other 7 guests would like – we love your special requests!
Your backroad adventure in Basque Country
With its own language, unique climate and a very distinct cultural identity, Basque is a very special part of France and our 7-day-tour will cover the very best of this region.
A beacon of beauty the Basque Region, or Euskadi as it is known in its local language, is unlike the rest of the French regions. The Basque people are very proud and they captivate all who visit.
From the dramatic cliffs to the sandy beaches, there is nothing not to love about the landscape here. In just one hour you can go from the rugged Pyrenees Mountains to the Atlantic Coastline.
Biarritz is an exceptional destination located in the heart of the Basque Country. Recently, the French Government has chosen the brand Biarritz-Basque Country, a jewel of international tourism, to underline the advantages of tourism in France, along with 19 other destinations.
Bayonne owes its significant architectural heritage to its rich history. Bayonne has strong policies on heritage and culture and obtained France's official “Town of Art & History” status in 2012, in recognition of 2,000 years of history and rich heritage. We will visit typical Basque villages and country landscapes.
San Sebastian is incredible, but if you really want to sink your teeth into Basque culture then a day trip to one of its quaint little villages is also a must. Espelette and Ainhoa are amongst the most well-known – mostly because of its famous peppers. The houses here are built in the traditional Basque manner and the streets are lined with boutiques and artisanal markets selling homemade chocolates among other delights.
Saint-Jean-de-Luz is another village worth visiting, if only for its beautiful beach. This glimmering, gold beach is right in the centre of the town and is perfect for lying out in the sun, listening to the waves lap the shore.
Around 40km – 30 miles to the east of Saint-Jean-de-Luz is Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port. This town is imbued with historical significance because it is a strategic point on the Camino de Santiago de Compostella pilgrimage route.
Buying a traditional product in the Basque Region allows you to take a part of this fascinating region home with you, together with great memories from France. A popular gift to take home is a pair of authentic Basque espadrilles sandals, “handicraft” household linen or a traditional Basque Beret. As part of our tour, you will get to visit workshops where these beautiful items are made.
Your Accommodation in Basque
Modern conveniences, yet traditional charm, is the best way to describe our accommodation in Basque!
Our home away from home in Basque is a local traditional home in one of the most beautiful villages in the Basque Country, only 15 minutes from Bayonne, Anglet and Biarritz.
The home showcases the best of the charm of the countryside, yet is close to the beaches of the Basque Coast.
It is located on a hectare of wooded grounds and features a heated salt-water pool and stunning décor.
The home is true ode to country life, with a carefully thought-out interior design that reminds you of the farms of yesteryear, while offering all modern conveniences. It’s atmosphere is one of great warmth and refinement. The house is set up on two levels, with the upper level reserved for the bedrooms - five spacious suites with tremendous charm, each with its own ensuite bath or shower room. All suites overlook the lush Basque mountains of the Pyrenees range.
The ground floor is dedicated to the shared living areas, including a furnished veranda with a summer kitchen, living area and table and a gorgeous living room opening on to the terrace, with fireplace and bar.
What is included in your tour of Basque?
7 nights accommodation in a fantastic villa surrounded by the sea and mountains
Twin share room and private bathroom
5 lunches at restaurants and 7 dinners, as well as continental breakfast included every day
Regional and French wines with all your meals
Michelin star Chef Francois cooks each dinner for you and with you (for those who want) using local recipes and seasonal produce
Five full day tours, visiting stunning little villages and gourmet experience in the Basque Country
Entry fees to local attractions whenever they apply
Free transport to and from the local Biarritz airport on arrival and departure
Free Wi-Fi in accommodation
We will give you advice on reaching and leaving the Bergerac train station or Biarritz airport, in order for you to be relaxed about your arrival and departure
A pre-departure briefing to discuss travel arrangements for the tour
Please note, you will have a free day on the Wednesday of our tour to explore this region on your own. You can visit the museums, shops and galleries of your choice and walk around at your own pace. We can of course provide advice and recommendations on what you might want to do on your leisure day too if you need!
And of course if you want to continue your trip after you have spent the week with us, Spain is just a few kilometres away or the train to Bordeaux is also an easy trip.
The tour details
Just 8 places available
2600€ (approximately AUD$4310) per person twin share and 3050€ (approximately $AUD5060) per person for a single (all inclusive, the only thing you need to arrange is your flights and we can help if required)
Dates for 2020
From the 16th of May until the 23rd of May 2020 - only a few places left!