Located only 8 km from the Atlantic coast, Bayonne is famous for its bullfighting traditions. The Nive and Adour Rivers meet in its centre, making it a very picturesque city “on water”. This southern French town makes up an agglomeration called “BAB” (Bayonne- Anglet - Biarritz: 200,000 inhabitants). As these towns, Bayonne belongs to the Pays Basque (Basque Country) and is deeply influenced by this particular culture. Bayonne is also Pyrenees-Atlantiques’ sous-préfecture (administrative subdivision of the department).
Only 45 kilometres away from Spain, Bayonne is a typical Basque town which has an abundance of traditions and beautiful landscapes. Due to its location close to the border, straddling both France and Spain, Bayonne has always had a privileged status. The surrounding countryside is great if you want to stay in a quiet area and enjoy peaceful holidays. There are plenty of vestiges from the past in Bayonne, such as the citadel, old castle or ramparts, which are relatively intact and make the charm of this town.
As Bayonne is located only 30 kilometres from Spain and boasts beautiful beaches, it is the ideal place to spend your holidays in the south west of France. Moreover, you will love the culture and the Basque way of life where gastronomy and joy are on top of the agenda.
Like for most French towns, the housing crisis also affects the Basque country. Property prices have almost doubled since the beginning of the 21st century! House values in towns along the coastline are usually very high, but it is often much cheaper in the inland. It is not the case in Bayonne, since all properties have been concerned by this price increase.
As far as Bayonne is concerned, housing prices are also pretty high. The average price to buy a property is €3,160 /sq m, which is still less expensive than the average price in the department where it is located: €3,227, and surprisingly much more expensive than in Bordeaux, “the” regional big city (€2,995). Renting an apartment or a house will cost you approximately €10 /sq m/month. These figures prove – amongst others – the very strong tourist attraction of this area which has several assets combined, such as the proximity of the Atlantic, the Pyrenees and Spain, along with an outstanding climate.
Buy-to-let investments in Bayonne are really interesting given the growing popularity of the city amongst both French people and foreigners.
To get updated info about housing prices in the Dordogne, please browse our French Property Market Reports published in the News Section every month.
Click here to have an overview of Aquitaine Property Prices.
Bayonne is not only a south western city located in the French Basque country, it also has many assets that will convince you to settle there.
Vestiges: the Nive River flows through Bayonne. Five bridges link Grand Bayonne with Petit Bayonne. The Nive River’s bank - with many tapas bars, restaurants and public squares - is actually considered as Bayonne’s main street. Vauban’s fortifications surround the two main quarters of the city. Its citadel (also Vauban’s work) dating back from 1680 is worth a visit. Bayonne is characterized by its medieval town-planning marked by streets layout and the presence of many old buildings, especially manors and villas.
Bull fighting: with the longest tradition of bull-fighting in France, Bayonne attracts people from the whole Basque country to see these special events. From July to September, many bull fights happen in Bayonne’s bullring. Enjoy numerous parades, dances, fireworks, but also good music, food and drink during the Fêtes de Bayonne (Bayonne’s party) which gather more than 1,000,000 people on average each year!
Gastronomy: Bayonne’s gastronomy is renowned all over France. The jambon de bayonne(Bayonne ham) - an air dried salted ham - is famous in the whole country. Bayonne has also been producing fine chocolates for 500 years and it is even Bayonne which has introduced the chocolate in France. You can visit Bayonne through the chocolate history and discover places where the chocolate was processed, etc. In Bayonne you can also taste the traditional Basque gastronomy, dominated by charcuterie, cheese (above all ewe cheese), and chillies. The renowned piperade is one amongst many other delicious dishes.
Transport links: “BAB” (Bayonne-Anglet-Biarritz) airport (located 30 minutes from Bayonne) provides flights to destinations across France and Europe (in UK flights arrive at Stansted). Otherwise, Bayonne is also on the high-speed TGV line, which goes from Paris to Spain. There are bus connections with Biarritz, Anglet and surrounding villages. The city is also easily accessible by road with the A63 and the A64 motorways.
Cultural heritage: Bayonne is nowadays known as a Basque city, however it is important to remember that it was formerly a Gascony city and was annexed to the Basque Country only after the Revolution with the creation of the department Pyrenees Atlantiques. This department combines the former area of Basque Country and Bearn and has made Bayonne a major centre for the Basque Country. As a result, today the Occitan is not talked nor understood as the Basque and the French have taken over it. The Gascon is present though trough some streets’ name and a very small part of the population that still speak it.
Bayonne’s architecture and property styles are very similar to other towns of the Pyrenees Atlantiques department, but you will still find special houses such as the ones located along the Nive river…
Nive quay’s houses: Bayonne’s typical stone houses’ features are colourful shutters and doors, balconies and tiled roofs. These houses always have very narrow fronts (sometimes equivalent to only one window’s width!). Actually, before 1899, it was forbidden to build houses outside the ramparts and as there was no more space in the city, the inhabitants had to build floors to the houses, which already existed…The ground floors of Nive quay’s houses host small shops such as bakeries, hairdressers, butcher shops, etc.
Half-timbered houses: the classic French Colombage houses are made of wood beams, between which cob, plaster or sometimes brick (less common) are inserted to fill the walls. Some of these houses may have a specific timber frame system with horizontal pieces of wood covering the outside walls. This specific timberframe system produces an architecture style equivalent to wood framing.
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