St. Jean de Luz, France – July 13, 2011
From San Sebastian, Spain, we made our way into France. We arrived at St. Jean de Luz, France this morning at about 10:00. It took us about an hour because we took the back roads. The weather was cloudy as we loaded the 4Runner at the hotel this morning in San Sebastian. Shortly after we started driving it began to rain. At times it rained quite hard. The French countryside was just breathtakingly beautiful. It was very green, no doubt aided by the rain.
When we checked-in to our hotel, I asked if we were too late for breakfast. The woman at the front desk said no. So, as soon as we put our suitcases in our rooms, we went back downstairs to have breakfast. It consisted of fresh-squeezed orange juice, coffee, fresh croissants, fresh bread, cheese, hard-boiled eggs, and something like a fruit cocktail. It was quite good and refreshing. I am certain the fact we were in France made the simple breakfast even more delicious!
The hotel we are staying in is Le Grand Hôtel de la Poste. It is a three-star hotel. It has a sort of bed and breakfast feel. I am guessing it dates from the 1800s, so it has plenty of “character!” However, after our walk around town, seeing some of the very old homes, for all I know, our hotel may date from the late 1600s.
After finishing breakfast, we decided to walk to Grand Beach. We went out of our hotel and turned right so we could walk to the port and beach area along Rue Leon Gambetta. All totaled, we probably walked about 1,500 to 2,000 meters (about 0.9 to 1.2 miles). At about the halfway point we stopped to have a snack and a drink. When we finished, we walked back to the hotel and all took a nap.
We walked past a specialty meat store. The large sign above the door trumpeted poultry, Bayonne ham, and foie gras. If those did not excite one’s palate, there was also goat cheese direct from the mountains, Espelette peppers, a Basque beret, very good ham, duck breast, fine wines, fresh-cut farm-raised poultry, extraordinary old-style sausages, and Chinchon dough sausages, just to name a few! The aroma emanating from the store was mesmerizing.
After our nap, we walked back to the marina area and took a boat ride on the Nivelle V. It left from the marina and went out a short way beyond the breakwater barriers. It was a little windy so the ocean was choppy. When we got beyond the breakwater, we found we were in two to three-foot seas. Every now and then we would encounter a four-foot wave. It was quite a ride. Once we turned around and began heading back to shore it was considerably smoother since we were going with the waves. Regardless of the conditions, we all enjoyed the excursion; well, Leslie was not keen about the choppiness, but all in all, had fun.
That night we went to dinner at Le Grand Grill Basque, located at 32 Boulevard Thiers. At 122€ (US$149), it was the least expensive meal we have had on this trip so far!