Sunday, March 22, 2009

Bayonne, France - May 29, 2008

Bayonne, in southwestern France, is at the confluence of the Nive and Adour rivers and is the economic and cultural capital of the Basque Country on the French side of the Pyrenees. Located almost 4 miles from the Atlantic coast it has escaped the worst excesses of tourism, leaving the 40,000 or so residents, to enjoy this historic treasure.
The city is split east to west by the River Ardour with - more or less - the old city to the south and the more modern,
St Esprit area, to the north. The southern part, in turn, is split into two by the smaller River Nive flowing north to meet the Ardour. The western chunk of the old city is known as Grand Bayonne while the smaller, eastern piece is Petit Bayonne.
Grand Bayonne is home to the
Cathédrale Ste-Marie, the towers and steeple of which, provide an impressive silhouette although, as weather beaten as the edifice is, they do look much better from a distance. The church was largely built in the 12th and 13th centuries even though the south tower wasn't completed until the 16th century and the north tower remained unfinished until the 19th. Overall, an enjoyable walkabout in a charming city. Check here for more images.

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