Last year there was no real family holiday, as my mum and I headed off to New York without the men. This year, I came home just for it. I had barely been in France for 24 hours that we were off on a seven hours long drive South to the Pays Basque. Brits will maybe know it as Basque Country, but it sounds prettier in French so deal with it.
Things you will find in the Pays Basque:
- White houses with mostly red shutters and doors; sometimes green, very occasionally blue. Nothing else, as the colours correspond to the three occupations of the locals in old times: livestock farming, agriculture and fishing.
- Delicious food that will make your taste buds sing. There is something for everyone down there. Meat lovers will enjoy rib steaks a la plancha, platters piled with ham and chorizo, grilled duck filets and the most adventurous will love the local black pudding. (I'm far for a meat lover but man, their black pudding!) If like me, you're more into sea things, you should already be on your way there because I ate the best fish of my life in Bidart (roasted hake with olive oil dressing and garlic crisps at restaurant La Plancha, mind blowing, seriously.) They're also incredible at seafood, make delicious cheese, and cultivate their own regional chili pepper in Espelette. What's not to love?
- A difficult thing to escape in the Pays Basque is... tourists. They are everywhere, as it appears the region is rapidly becoming one of the most popular holiday destination for froggies. We saw these beautiful fireworks on an absolutely packed beach, as in I barely had enough room to stretch my legs (totally worth it though.) We were staying in a village of barely 1,000 inhabitants and had to skip lunch one day because all three restaurants were full! It needs going into the land and avoiding the most touristic villages to find empty places.
- Street art, surprisingly! The small village we stayed at had its walls covered in stickers of old people...
- Tons of pretty and interesting places to visit. I'll tell you more about what we did during the stay in my next post, but really I want to insist on how beautiful it all was. The land is surprisingly green (we were told it rains a lot), the all similar houses create a beautiful landscape, with houses decorated with chili peppers and animals sunbathing in the fields.
That's it for my first postcard from the Pays Basque, but I have another one coming up soon...