Pyrenees-Atlantiques is a department of Aquitaine located in the of South West France between the Loire Valley and the Pyrenees mountains.
Town property guide
Pyrenees-Atlantiques is part of the Aquitaine region of Southwest France. It is bordered by the Landes, Hautes-Pyrenees , Gers departments and the Bay of Biscay .
With the Atlantic to the West and the Pyrenees to the South, the Pyrenees Atlantiques is a department of outstanding natural beauty.
To the north the land gives way to gently sloping valleys, vineyards and plains.
The main tows are: Bayonne, Biarritz, Pau, St Jean de Luz and Orthez.
The department benefits from mild oceanic climate with the 2,200 sunshine hours per year.
Because of the mild winter, coastal Pyrenees Atlantiques is warmed both by the Atlantic Conveyor current sweeping north from the Azores and air masses sent north from the African Sahara. As a result, there is sea-swimming for much of the year, and even sunbathing.
Bayonne was founded by the Romans for its excellent position between the rivers Nive and Adour and its easy access to Spain. Today Bayonne is the cultural and economic centre of the French Basque region. It is a particularly good base if you want to spend time by the sea and discover the surrounding region. It’s possible to hear locals speaking Euskara as opposed to French. Customs and traditions are abound here with eateries serving local specialities Grand Bayonne is the district around the cathedral and is full of lively restaurants, bars, patisseries and interesting shops. The cathedral itself is worth a visit with its twin towers that rise steeply above the houses and impressive interior. Other interesting places are: theatre de Bayonne, Alexandre Newsky church, Basque museum and Musee Bonnat de Bayonne.
Biarritz is a popular coastal resort. It has some of the best surf in the world and great beaches such as La Grande Plage which is dotted with striped bathing tents. Don’t forget to make for Pointe Atalaye where you’ll come to the Rocher de la Vierge. From here there is a view towards Les Landes and south to the mountains of Spain. Also of interest is one of the last most sumptuous hotels in Europe, the Hotel du Palais built to accommodate Empress Eugenie and her entourage. The Port de Pecheurs is the spot for boat trips. It’s worth to visit the Museum of the Sea, Asiatica- the most robust collection of Asian art in Europe and Musee du Vieux Biarritz.
With nine centuries of glorious history, and one of the most breathtaking views of the nearby Pyrenees to be found, Pau is an incontrovertible destination. Pau’s phenomenal Boulevard des Pyrenees which winds through the city front leads from the sensational park of Beaumont to the architectural wonder, the Chateau de Pau. This castle is famous for being the birthplace of the 16th century king of France Henry IV and was once used by Napoleon as a holiday home during his period of power. It has a small garden that was tended by Marie Antoinette when she spent much of the summers in the city. Not forgetting the Grand Prix de Pau which is an auto race held there every year.
The “musts” to see are: Pau castle, St Jacques and St Jean Pied de Port, The Montaner, Morlanne and Madiran, The Vierge and the Musee de la Mer of Biarritz , Bayonne museums and Iraty Forests and the Gorges of Kakuetta.
The Pyrenees are a paradise for skiers, fishermen and walkers. Among the varied flora and fauna of the Parc National des Pyrenees, you’ll find species of lynx, wild bear and Royal Eagles. The 3 popular ski resorts are Gourette, La Pierre St Martin and Artouste. For the cross-country and snowshoe trekking there are 3 Nordic Ski resorts: Issarbe, Somport and Iraty.
For the golf enthusiasts there are 11 legendary turfs all within close vicinity combined with spectacular views, luxurious surroundings and year round opportunities, there are endless possibilities to your game.
For over 40 years the Basque coast has enjoyed the tradition of surf. With excellent year round surfing, the Basque coast is internationally renowned for the best waves in Europe. There are many professional surf competitions such as Billabong, O’Neill, Roxy, Ripcurl or Quiksilver.
Other possible activities in this area are: rock climbing, flying, canoeing, kayaking, cycling, horse riding, hot air ballooning, paragliding, parachuting, diving, sailing, mountain biking, rafting and water skiing.
To the most popular festivals of this department are: “Le temps d’aimer”- dance, horses competition “The stars of Pau”, “La fete de la Musique”-national musical event, “ The Bayonne Fetes”, “Casetas to Salies-de-Bearn”-street festival, “The summer in Pau”- evening concerts, nights of fireworks from 14 of July till 15 of August and many more.
In the Basque Country, local gastronomy is touched by the warmth and colour of Spain and French cuisine.
It’ s necessary to try a slice of Bayonne’s finest cured ham, Brebis cheeses, the confit of Bearn, piperade, salmon de Gaves and ttoro.
For the main course there is a large choice between: poulet basquaise-chicken with tomatoes, spices, ham and mushrooms, Margret au cepes- duck breasts cooked with mushrooms, l’axoa- veal spiced with hot peppers, zikiro- grilled lamb, poule au pot- chicken with the Bearnaise tradition, truite-fresh trout, salmis de palombes- ga,e stew cooked in wine and marmitako-tuna prepared with olive oil and vegetables.
For the dessert, it’s impossible to pass up the deliciously traditional basque cake topped in cream.
Travel from the UK
Gironde is served by the airports of Biarritz, Pau, Bordeaux, Bergerac.
Budget airlines such as Ryanair fly everyday to Biarritz, Pau and Bergerac
Our team of sale advisers at Sextant Properties will be happy to help you to find a property in Pyrenees-Atlantiques. We have a large network of estate agents in Pyrenees-Atlantiques. All of them are registered French estate agents and speak both French and English. Whatever kind of property you are looking for: farmhouse, longere, barn, gite, B&B, country house, mill, castle or chateau, we will do our best to find a property in Pyrenees-Atlantiques matching your requirements. To find out more about our properties for sale in Pyrenees-Atlantiques do not hesitate to contact us.