One of my favourite things is to go where I’ve never been and see what I’ve never seen before. I love the anticipation of visiting a new place and the surprises that await. The buzz of discovering a fabulous beach, an iconic town or a mouth-watering regional dish never fails to delight. In a couple of weeks I’ll be jetting off to French Basque Country in southwest France to discover all that and much more besides.
French Basque Country
I’ve always associated the Basque region with Spain but a large part of it is made up of French provinces. I’m rather hoping that the French Basque region is going to feel very different than the rest of France. I’m looking forward to experiencing a new aspect of the country.
I’ve since returned from my trip. Read how I got on enjoying Rustic Ritz at Camping Ilbarritz.
Yelloh Village Ilbarritz
I’m heading for Yelloh Village Ilbarritz where I’ll be indulging in a spot of glamping with Kathryn from Travel with Kat, my long-time travel friend. Yelloh is beautifully situated in the commune of the Pyrénées-Atlantiques where the Pays Basque countryside meets the coast.
Although there are pitches for tents and camper vans you won’t find me in a tent – unless I’m peeping out of one of the quirky striped tents on Biarritz beach. We’re staying in a contemporary two-bedroomed, two-bathroom mobile home with its own kitchen, living area and outside terrace.
There’s an aquatic park on-site with water slides, an outdoor pool, lagoon area, covered, heated swimming pool and sauna. I’ll be checking out the daily yoga classes – did you know I’m a yoga fiend? There are all sorts of activities at the campsite for both adults and children including water aerobics, beach volleyball, games room, group sports, Pétanque and various kids clubs for different age ranges. There’s also a spa. Nearby activities include horse-riding, golf, surfing, windsurfing, canyoning and rafting, hot-air balloon rides and golf.
Other facilities on-site include a restaurant serving Basque speciality dishes and international food. There’s also a snack bar, pizzeria and bar. If we wanted to self-cater in our fully equipped kitchen we’ll head to the mini-supermarket and bakery. I’m sure we’ll be stocking up with freshly-baked baguettes, local cheeses, Bayonne ham and some vin rouge for picnics. A perfect spot would be the glorious swathe of golden sand at Plage d’Erretegia just 900 metres away from Yelloh Village.
There are six beautiful beaches in the area stretching over 5 kilometres with a backdrop of views of the Pyrenees. I can’t wait to wiggle my toes in that beautiful golden sand.
French Basque Food
There are many traditional dishes in the French Basque region and I’m looking forward to trying one or two during our visit. Peppers appear to feature prominently; Piperade is a fondue with sweet green peppers served with scrambled eggs. Cod-stuffed peppers sound delicious and Espelette peppers are a local must-try. After harvesting, the local houses are strung with lines of peppers drying in the sun – that’s a sight I’d like to see. For dessert a slice of Gâteau Basque will be compulsory.
Although I think there’s plenty to keep us busy in the campsite and the nearby beach, Biarritz with its old-school glitz is just a 15 minute bus ride away. I fancy checking out Grande Plage beach and the café culture on the promenade. I may even climb the 248 steps up the lighthouse for sweeping views across city and sea.
In contrast to ritzy Biarritz the small rustic hill-top town of Bidart looks totally mooch-worthy and is very near to the campsite. The Saturday morning market would be a good place to seek out local produce and stock up on local fromage and charcuterie.
Are you heading anywhere new soon? Where are you going and what are you looking forward to discovering there?
Disclaimer: Thanks to Yelloh Village Ilbarritz for inviting us to France. I can’t wait to explore and discover all it has to offer.
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Photo Credits: Photo 1 – By Communication64210 – Own work, via Wikimedia Commons. Photos 2, 3 and 4 from Yellohvillage.co.uk. Photo 5 By Anne-Liam (Own work) via Wikimedia Commons. Photo 6 By Loïc LLH (Own work) via Wikimedia Commons