Saint Jean de Luz

Driving distance from Calais:

667 miles (Approx. 9hrs 5mins)

Resort Info

Why Saint Jean de Luz?

  • Beautiful old historic port
  • Stunning sandy beaches that are great for kids
  • Excellent restaurant and bars with gorgeous Basque inspired cuisine
  • Close to Spain for border hopping

Saint Jean de Luz is located on the French Atlantic coast, south of Biarritz, just a few kilometres from the border with Spain. It is the ideal starting point to discover the Basque Country and coast, with the nearby historical and cultural towns like Bayonne, Biarritz, Anglet and villages like Sare Basque, Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, Espelette.

Saint Jean de Luz became wealthy due its port and its past; the town being associated with both fishing and with the capture of vessels by its own Basque pirates. This prosperity reached its height during the 17th Century, which is still considered as the town's 'Golden Age.'

Today, the fishing port at Saint Jean de Luz still plays an important role in the town which has become a famous resort, known for its architecture, sandy bay and the excellent cuisine. Situated to the east of the brutal Bay of Biscay, it is the only sheltered bay between Arcachon and Spain. It is thanks to its strong sea walls (or dykes) that protect the town from the full savagery of the Atlantic Ocean, that its beautiful sandy beaches have become a favourite for bathers along the Basque Coast. The fine, sandy beach of the Grande Plage offers a range of both relaxing and energetic activities. Located right in the heart of Saint Jean de Luz, and protected from the waves by three sea walls, it is the perfect beach for children.

Being close to the sea the town of Saint Jean de Luz offers many water sports from surfing to sailing and scuba diving to sea kayaking. Land lovers benefit from a thalassotherapy spa and a number of nearby golf courses. You can also partake in some retail therapy in the fresh sea air in the pedestrianized area full of boutique shops that are open all year round. If you buy one thing to complement your summer attire make sure it's a pair of the famous Espadrilles!

Gourmet lovers will have the palates pampered to in the many excellent restaurants and bars. It's not a case of where to eat, but what to eat - your taste buds will be spoilt for choice! Why not start the evening with a brimming pitcher of Sangria along with an Assiette de charcuterie Basque (Basque meat platter) to get the gastric juices flowing? Maybe follow this with a local grilled hake, octopus with peppers or an Iberian parillada (grill) washed down with a cold glass of Estigar Basque cider?

The pretty port town of Saint Jean de Luz also has a rich cultural and historical past. The town features a large number of residences built in the 17th and 18th centuries along the Quai de L'Infante, Rue Mazarin, Rue Gambetta and at the Place Louis XIV. These buildings are a testament to the families, ship-owners and Basque merchants from this period. Perhaps the most famous of all these residences is the 'Maison Joanoenea' (see Sights and Activities).

Just like Biarritz, Saint Jean de Luz has a royal past. It was here in the 17th century that Cardinal Mazarin would embark on almost daily trips to the island of Bidassoa (near Hendaye) for Franco-Spanish meetings that resulted in the Treaty of the Pyrenees. One such clause of the Treaty was the marriage of Louis XIV to Maria Theresa, the Infanta of Spain. Saint Jean de Luz and its church were chosen to host the royal wedding on 9 June 1660.

The town has also been touched by war. There are some bunkers from WW2 still visible along the coast that formed part of the infamous Atlantic Wall - German defences against the anticipated Allied invasion of Western France. Remains of the bunkers are still visible on the Santa-Barbe promenade. The town was also used as the evacuation point for some 55,000 men of the Polish Army who fought in the Battle of France in June 1940. They made a fighting retreat south to Saint Jean de Luz where they were ferried by local fishermen to the waiting passenger ships anchored in the harbour. The ships managed to escape to the United Kingdom just in time before a Luftwaffe bomber attack on the town and port began.

Many cultural and sporting events are held throughout the year such as the public concerts of classical music organized by the Académie Ravel, a film festival dedicated to young filmmakers, a surfing film festival and Basque Pelota championships.

You can also watch a Basque Pelota game. There are more than 20 variations of Basque Pelota, the most popular being la Pala. However, the most spectacular version of the game remains la Cesta punta which can be watched in the surroundings of the Jaï-Alaï staduim during the highly passionate tournament of the Gant d’or/Golden Glove in the summer.
For those that like their games to be a little more sedate and sophisticated, why not have a flutter at the Saint Jean de Luz Casino before heading out to toast your winnings - or to drown your sorrows - at the fabulous and thronging bars and restaurants where surfer-types rub shoulders with models and millionaires!

The town of Saint Jean de Luz makes a great base for exploring the Basque coast and its surrounding countryside, towns and villages.

For those who prefer a traditional Basque village feel to their stay, the pretty town of Ciboure lies across the harbour of Saint Jean de Luz on the other side of the Nivelle River just 2 km away. The pretty port town of Ciboure is famed for its traditional Basque style buildings whilst adjacent Socoa has its impressive 15th-century fortress built by Louis XIII. It is close to the coast and there is Socoa beach just 500m away. The area has plenty of restaurants and bars ranging from local Basque cuisine and gastro or traditional restaurants to Pizzerias.

Urrugne is a quiet Basque village which has managed to preserve its authenticity and traditions. It is ideal for those looking to get away from it all and enjoy the peaceful surrounding countryside. It lies across the harbour of Saint Jean de Luz on the other side of the Nivelle River just 3 km away and is close to both Ciboure port and Socoa with its fortress.

Tourist Information in Saint Jean de Luz is open every day during the high season from 09:00 – 19:30 (Mon – Sat) and 10:00 – 19:00 (Sun and public holidays – closed 13:00 – 15:00). Their comprehensive website is full of useful information, tips and suggestions:

Office de Tourisme Saint Jean de Luz
2, Boulevard Victor Hugo,
64500 Saint Jean de Luz
Tel: +33(0)559260316

  • Opening
  • Activities
  • Eating
  • Resort News

Saint Jean de Luz opening dates: All year.


Saint Jean de Luz offers many outdoor and cultural activities for adults and children alike and has a rich historical and cultural heritage. From royal weddings and an imbedded Basque culture to water sports and thalassotherapy – Saint Jean de Luz is a destination with something for everyone.  


Sports & Leisure


In the Village:

Swimming Pool
Cinéma Le Sélect
Luzi Park
Canoeing and Kayaking
Quad Biking
Scuba Diving
Boating and Sailing
Beach Club Le Sporting
Beach Club Les Trois Couronnes Mickey
Ibardin Aventure Park
Treetop Outdoor Activity Park
Boat cruises
Le Petit Train de Saint Jean de Luz


Go to the Sports & Leisure Page >


Culture and Heritage


In the Village:

Maison Joanoenea
Eglise Saint-Jean-Baptiste
Maison Louis XIV
Écomusée Basque Jean Vier
Jardin Botanique Paul Jovet
Segway Tour of the Jardin Botanique



Cambo les Bains
San Sebastian


Go to the Culture & Heritage Page >


Natural Wonders & Wildlife



Larrun (La Rhune)
Labenne Zoo


Go to the Natural Wonders & Wildlife Page >


Child Specific


Swimming Pool
Luzi Park
Beach Club Le Sporting
Beach Club Les Trois Couronnes Mickey
Ibardin Aventure Park
Treetop Outdoor Activity Park
Boat cruises
Le Petit Train de Saint Jean de Luz
Cinéma Le Sélect


Go to the Child Specific Page >


The Food in Saint Jean de Luz


There are plenty of great restaurants in St Jean de Luz, be it in the port area or the famous main square. We have mentioned just a couple of our favourites to get you started.

Restaurants in Bagnères de Bigorre

La Réserve
Hotel la Reserve, 1, Rue Gaëtan de Bernoville. 64500 Saint Jean de Luz Tel: 0033 (0)559 513200  
This restaurant is within the hotel of the same name and is located on the coast just 10 minutes’ drive from the centre of town. Overlooking the Bay of Biscay the restaurant terrace has stunning views. The the influences of nearby Biarritz, Anglet and Bayonne have come together to create a heady Basque mix.
Indulge yourself with the ttoro (a fish soup usually made with local conger eel, coley, langoustine, mussels and hake), txangurro or Basque spider crab. For dessert, you really should try the traditional Basque cake made of light pastry filled with almond-flavoured cream.

Chez Pablo
5, Rue Mademoiselle Etcheto, 64500 Saint Jean de Luz. Tel: 0033 (0)559 263781.  
Located 5 minutes’ walk from the main square, this mid-range restaurant is unmistakeably Basque. The speciality is the steaming hot garbure (a thick ham and vegetable stew) or settle for the local cheese, ossau-iraty, fresh grapes, and a glass of port. The Poulet Basquaise (Basque chicken) is a chicken pot roast made with the abundant use of Espelette powder, a local variety of chili pepper.

Buvette de la Halle
18 bis Boulevard Victor Hugo. 64500 St Jean de Luz. Tel 0033 (0)559 267359
This is a traditional budget eatery ideal for lunch – don not be put off by the plastic tables and chairs, the food is hearty and good. It is located two streets back from the main square adjacent to the main market and has a charming terrace. It is a popular haunt with the locals and fills up quickly after the close of the market. It serves excellent Basque food and favourites include Axoa de veau (a hearty veal dish), Chuletta de cordero (Basque style pork chops) and the sardines.

Resort News

Coming soon

Other Accommodation In: Saint Jean de Luz
Prestige Domaine de Lana
4* Villas Sleeps 8
Private luxury villa complex
Luxury villas with shared outdoor pool in a private setting situated close to St Jean de Luz and just 500m from Socoa Beach, bars & restaurants.
Residence Fort Socoa
3* Apartments Sleeps 4-8
Family focused residence with Pool
Fort Socoa is a great family residence with a riverside setting situated in close to St Jean de Luz in Urrugne, just 400m from Socoa Beach and shops.
Residence Soko Eder
3* Apartments Sleeps 2-8
500m from the beach with Pool
Soko Eder is situated in the Ciboure area, just 2.5 km from the centre of St Jean de Luz. Located on a hillside with stunning views of Socoa fort.
Hotel Erromardie
3* Hotel Sleeps 2-3
400m to Beach with Pool
An ideally located hotel just 2km from Saint Jean de Luz centre. Set in its own park with an outdoor pool.
Domaine Iratzia
3* Apartments Sleeps 4-8
400m to Beach with Pool
An ideally located residence just 2km from Saint Jean de Luz centre. Set in its own park with an outdoor pool.

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