What fascinated us about this corner of Europe were all the options this region seemed to offer: wine country, culinary delights, pyrenees mountains, the pays basque beaches and the proximity to Spain. Wow. All that within 1 hour of a drive from Salies de Bearn. That is why we chose Salies de Bearn to be our base in south west France. Last weekend we went out to prove to ourselves that we can enjoy all of this diversity in 48 hours, not planned but it just happened that way.
On Friday we started off with a drive to a picturesque village in Valley d’Aspe to look at a few renovation or restoration real estate opportunities. The views of the pyrenees were dramatic and after 1 hour of a drive we felt we were in a different world. It was an early September morning and the weather couldn’t have been more perfect. 25 Celsius or thereabout.
Saturday after a late start to the day we drove 40 minutes west to the cosmopolitan beach resort town of Biarritz were British royalty famously vacationed and sea bathing became popular. We enjoyed a couple salads for lunch with a glass of local rose at the casino overlooking La Grande Plage before we took a stroll down the beach.
After our walk on the beach in Biarritz we jumped in the car and drove across the border to San Sebastian, Spain. We walked the narrow medieval streets of old town and port before we set down at one of the many tapas restaurants in town. A little sangria and a few tapas later we were pretty content. We enjoyed the sunset over the bay of San Sebastian and drove home to Salies de Bearn. When we typed in the GPS information we were surprised to find out that we only had a 1 hour and 10 minute drive back home. As you can imagine we were spent after a busy Saturday but we were ready to enjoy Salies de Bearn next day.
Fete du Sel (or Salt Fest) was in full swing. Traditional basque music with lots and lots of wine, a parade, lots of singing and berets, berets, and more berets everywhere. We just relaxed taking in all the sights while enjoying a culinary delight at one of the local restaurants that included brazed lamb, shrimp over a bed of minced citrus and mint and a raspberry sorbet over meringue.
What a finish to a weekend. We wanted to see if you could do it all in one weekend and yes, in south west France you can. We’re fans of this region and aren’t surprised why more and more expats make it their home.