N: 43°29′ W: 1°29′
The Unforgettable Fete de Bayonne.
The Basque Country region is comprised of both Northern Spain and Southern France and included cities such a San Sebastian, Pamplona, Biarritz and Bayonne. It is famous for its unparalleled cuisine, incredible surf schools and its lengthy beaches. However there is a secret underbelly to Basque country that excelled at throwing the best party’s imaginable. The people of Basque country put the Great Gatsby to shame with there warm welcomes and legendary festivals. The Pamplona Bull run is perhaps the most famous example of the wild adventures to be had in this region. However, the stunning town of Bayonne offers a party that could potentially usurp Pamplona as the craziest party in the region.
As is typical for the area, the whole town is in attendance for the annual and week long festival of The Fete de Bayonne. Everybody is dressed in the traditional all white t-shirt and trousers, adorning a red scarf around their neck. The recipe for the festivals success is in fact rather simple: Differnet stages filled with live music or DJ sets are erected at the end of almost every street.
All the bars and some houses open up there doors for the partiers to come and go, refilling glasses of Sangria for a single euro as participants dance in the street. Each section of the city takes on a diffent appearance, whilst one region might be filled with live Jazz music and street food stalls selling tapas and Iberico Ham. Other’s play heavy techno music as fireworks shine down on on the Adour River.
Everyobody, without exception, is having fun. I’ve never in my life seen such a large amount of people stay in such high spirits at all times. The blend of different music, the wide variety of street food and local delicacies and the unadulterated beauty of the river all make for an unforgettable experience. The Fetes de Bayonne is a party that everyone should see once. It is pure hedonism and good vibes. A truly unforgettable experience. .
I will never forget when Thomas of SurfaWhile turned to me as we watched people dance and sing in the setting sun set on the Adour, and said: ‘As a Dutchman, I hardly dare say it, but I think this is 10 times better than Kingsday in Amsterdam”. He adds: “Nobody has ever told me about this party, I will certainly now spread it myself”. The atmosphere was friendly and happy until the earliest hours of the morning and not a single bad experience was had.
How to go to Bayonne Yourself
The accommodation is going to be your biggest issue when trying to visit this epicentre of partying. One of our partners, Star Surf, offers return bus trips to the festival that allows you to get the best of the Fete whilst allowing you to come back to the beautiful and quiet beaches of Moliets. We recommend going with an arrival day of 25th of July or 1st of August in order to make the most of the festival. It only costs 9 Euro to get into the festival and you can bring your own drinks with you should you want to avoid the bar prices. However everything remains quite cheap. Arriving with Star is honestly the best plan, they offer two meeting points that should you get lost in the crowds you can re-join your new surf friends. Very handy.
Please go to the Fete De Bayonne. You simply do not want to miss out ! I will never forget a lot of it but i cannot remember some of it! Read Olmo’s account of the Festival here.