Travelled : 33 miles to Anglet-Bayonne in the Aquitaine Region
Visited : Vieux Boucau les Bains, Anglet and Bayonne.
Stay : Aire Les Corsaires (Anglet), with services €6. N 43.30.426, W 001.32.077
Expenses : 23 days in France @ €72 per day
The proprietor of the campsite has recommended the bicycle ride to the lakes at Vieux Boucau les Bains the next village south from Messanges. So after some fruit we ride into Messanges and find the main cycle path south. It’s a beautiful ride mostly through pine plantation, the cycle way concrete or bitumen is wide and well marked. There’s lots of bikes out this morning some groups of more than 20 strong. After nearly 10 kilometres we ride into Vieux Boucau and take the turn to the lake. There are three lakes here, but we only ride around the first before heading back.
Back at the campsite we have a late big breakfast before packing up, doing the usual housekeeper tasks and heading for the gate. It’s past 12.30 already. It appears we have slipped into French holiday mode. It’s going to be interesting when we get home. It doesn’t really matter our planned destination is only an hours drive away in Bayonne. We travel south again perhaps for the last time for a while. Passing through Hossegor and Capbreton as we travel the coast road, both with beautiful houses and gardens. Both are famous for their beaches or Plage.
We also pass through countless roundabouts, the French love roundabouts. It’s not uncommon for even small villages to have 3-4 roundabouts, large villages 6-8. It is rare to see traffic lights except in the large towns or where the intersection is so small they cannot fit in a roundabout. The Hymer loves a roundabout, it lurches to the left, then lurches to the right, lastly lurching to the left a final time. The Hymer doesn’t like to stop, just slows to the speed necessary to intimidate ! It’s steering wheel is on the wrong side. It has Australian stickers all over it. The Hymer loves intimidating Citroens, Peugeots and especially Renaults. They are not precision German engineering like him, but scrappy things that look 20 years old even they are only four.
Anyway back to roundabouts. We quite often see some beautiful gardens on roundabouts as we travel through France but those in Hossegor and Capbreton are the best we have seen. Anyway we are heading for Bayonne, it’s the last large town before we turn left into the Pyrenees. The Hymer radio/stereo has not worked since we picked it up a month ago. Where sick of talking to each other and it’s time to fix the radio. Anyway we have done some googling and come up with a place to buy and install a new radio. I won’t bore you with the details more than I already have, but we now have a new sony radio in the Hymer.
The are no Aires in Bayonne, our GPS finds the nearest one at Anglet a few kilometres away on the coast. 10 minutes later we arrive at Aires Les Corsaires, the golf course on one side and the beach or Plage on the other. We find a spot and settle in, we walk over to the beach and decide we will be here a couple of days.
The next morning we get the bikes out and ride the beaches. The cycle ways are much less formal here. The track stops and starts and we have to merge with the traffic occasionally. We ride almost to Biarritz to the south which is only about 3 kilometres or so them north to the port. The cycle way to the port is much better. There is a large environmental centre there and a McDonalds which is probably why the cycle ways better.
After a late breakfast and a couple of hours down at the beach, we walk down to the bus stop a catch the #5 to Bayonne. It’s about half an hours journey and a bargain at €2 for 24 hours travel. We go straight to the tourist office, get a map and work on the top 10 sights. Anyway we run out of stream about old building number 7 and find a nice little bar on the River Nive.
Bayonne is an old military fortress and town. It still has a large garrison but I suspect given the graffiti around the place it’s something to do with the Basque separatists, who still rattle about.
It’s built on the confluence of Le Nive and Adour Rivers about 5 kilometres from the coast. It has the lovely cobblestone streets, lane ways and ancient half timber building common in the Basque Atlantic. We eventually find a little Japanese Restuarant that takes our fancy. We’ve had a great day and early evening before wandering back to the Square and finding a #5 home to our Aire.
Michael and Pam