Saint-Jean-de-Luz, amongst friends

The feast of Saint John is a time for getting together with friends! Clément was born in Les Landes, and Saint-Jean-de-Luz has been where he catches up with old friends for past ten years. They converge there every June for the feast of Saint John. Parades, bands, Basque games, and fireworks, and everyone dresses in red and black. The festivities are simply divine!

For the feast of Saint John weekend, we’re always there! You get into your thirties, and life gets in the way... We don’t get many chances to catch up, so this is our regular reunion. It’s where we spent our first holidays without our parents. Since then, we meet in my best friend’s house every year. I catch a very early flight on Saturday morning, and another one back to Paris just as early on Monday morning. The first thing we do when we get there? Go for a coffee on Place Louis XIV and stock up on supplies. Macarons from Maison Adam. Gâteau basque from Pariès.

It’s so relaxing...

For the ham, we go as far as the Spanish border. La Maison du Jambon is a one-stop-shop: bread and cake, tobacco, and cooked meat. And in front, a queue of cars waiting to pick up their truie de montagne ham! We don’t have much of a plan but there’s nothing wrong with that! We spend a lot of time at home, looking out over the bay, and enjoying doing nothing at all. It’s so relaxing. We head to the beach just before lunch – not the city centre beach, but the one beneath Sainte-Barbe hill. It’s a tiny strip of sand, and there’s not much room!

Time stands still...

Come evening, we head to the beach bar to watch the sunset over a few drinks. The bar is in an old train station in an amazing location overlooking the ocean at the end of a dead-end street. I’ve never been anywhere else like it. It’s always a really emotional experience. Time stands still, and nobody is thinking about photos for their Instagram. We have dinner there, where they serve baby squid. It’s fatty but by God, it’s good! And of course, later we head to the festivities for Saint John. We’re locals! Feria is part of our culture. And then it’s a good excuse... Sunday night, we go for dinner at Guéthary, which is part of our routine. As we watch the sunset, we think of those who’ve already made tracks, and thank the stars that we’re still there...

Places to go:

Stocking up when you arrive:

  • Maison Adam for their macarons (savour on the spot or take away, maybe you’ll need to go here twice).
  • Pariès for the gâteau basque with cream or black cherry (or both).
  • Maison du Jambon in the Basque Country for the truie de montagne ham, Béhobie, in Spain (one side of the river is France, the other Spain... a real border!)

For the views:

  • (And the baby squid...) La Guinguette d’Erromardie
  • Sainte-Barbe Hill: Nice in the morning, out of this world at sunset.

Getting to Saint-Jean-de-Luz 

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