Bayonne

France

Bayonne is a city and commune and one of the two sub-prefectures of the department of Pyrénées-Atlantiques, in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region of southwestern France. It is located at the confluence of the Nive and Adour rivers in the northern part of the cultural region of the Basque Country.

The inhabitants of the commune are known as Bayonnais or Bayonnaises.

CountryFrance
RegionNouvelle-Aquitaine
DepartmentPyrénées-Atlantiques
CantonBayonne-1, 2 and 3
Government
 Mayor (2020–2026)Jean-René Etchegaray
Area121.68 km2 (8.37 sq mi)
Population (2017-01-01)51,228
Time zoneUTC+01:00 (CET)
 Summer (DST)UTC+02:00 (CEST)

Communication and transport

Road communications

Bayonne is located at the intersection of the A63 autoroute (Bordeaux-Spain) and the D1 extension of the A64 autoroute (towards Toulouse). es the neighbouring communes of Mouguerre and Saint-Pierre-d’Irube.

Cycling network

Bicycle paths are located along the left bank of the Adour, a large part of the left bank of the Nive, and along various axes of the city where there are some bicycle lanes. The city offers free bicycles on loan.

Bridges

There are several bridges over both the Nive and the Adour linking the various districts.

Coming from upstream on the Adour there is the A63 bridge, then the Saint-Frédéric bridge which carries the D 810, then the railway bridge that replaced the old Eiffel iron bridge, the Saint-Esprit bridge, and finally the Grenet bridge. The Saint-Esprit bridge connects the Saint-Esprit district to the Amiral-Bergeret dock just upstream of the confluence with the river Nive.

On the Nive coming from upstream to downstream there is the A63 bridge then the Pont Blanc (White bridge) railway bridge, and then D810 bridge, the Génie bridge (or Pont Millitaire), the Pannecau bridge, the Marengo bridge leading to the covered markets, and the Mayou Bridge.

Saint-Esprit bridge

Public transport

Urban network

Most of the lines of the Chronoplus bus network operated by the Transdev agglomeration of Bayonne link Bayonne to other communes in the urban transport perimeter: Anglet, Biarritz, Bidart, Boucau, Saint-Pierre-d’Irube and Tarnos.

Rail transport

The Gare de Bayonne is located in the Saint-Esprit district and is an important station on the Bordeaux-Irun railway.

Air transport

Bayonne is served by the Biarritz – Anglet – Bayonne Airport, located on the communal territories of Anglet and Biarritz.

It has regular connections to Paris-Orly, Paris Charles de Gaulle, Lyon, Nice, Geneva and London Stansted and from March to October 2014 had connections with: Marseille, Strasbourg, Lille, Brussels South Charleroi Airport, Dublin, Stockholm-Skavsta, Stockholm-Arlanda, London-Gatwick, Copenhagen, Oslo and Helsinki.

Education

Bayonne commune is attached to the Academy of Bordeaux. It has an information and guidance center (CIO).

On 14 December 2015 Bayonne had 10 kindergartens, 22 elementary or primary schools (12 public and 10 private primary schools including two ikastolas). 2 public colleges (Albert Camus and Marracq colleges), 5 private colleges (La Salle Saint-Bernard, Saint Joseph, Saint-Amand, Notre-Dame and Largenté).

There are also the Maurice Ravel Conservatory of Music, Dance, and Dramatic Art and the art school of the urban community of Bayonne-Anglet-Biarritz.

Health

Bayonne is the focus of much of the hospital services for the agglomeration of Bayonne and the southern Landes. In this area all inhabitants are less than 35 km from a hospital offering medical, obstetrical, surgical, or psychiatric care. The hospitals for all the Basque Coast are mainly established in Bayonne (the main site of Saint-Léon and Cam-de-Prats) and also in Saint-Jean-de-Luz which has several clinics.

Cultural festivities and events

For 550 years every holy Thursday, Friday and Saturday the Foire au Jambon (Ham festival) is held to mark the beginning of the season.

An annual summer festival has been held in the commune since 1932 for five days organized around parades, bulls races, fireworks, and music in the Basque and Gascon tradition. These festivals have become the most important festive events in France in terms of attendance.

Bayonne has the oldest French bullfighting tradition. A bylaw regulating the encierro is dated 1283: cows, oxen and bulls are released each year in the streets of Petit Bayonne during the summer festivals. A dozen bullfights are held each year, attracting the biggest names in bullfighting.

The Bayonne Bullfighting ring

Economy

Businesses and shops

Bayonne is the economic capital of the agglomeration of Bayonne and southern Landes. The table below details the number of companies located in Bayonne according to their industry:

Workshops and Industry

There is Plastitube specializing in plastic packaging. The Izarra liqueur company set up a distillery in 1912 at Quai Amiral-Bergeret and has long symbolized the economic wealth of Bayonne. Industrial activities are concentrated in the neighbouring communes of Boucau, Tarnos (Turbomeca), Mouguerre, and Anglet.

Bayonne is known for its fine chocolates, produced in the town for 500 years, and Bayonne ham, a cured ham seasoned with peppers from nearby Espelette. Izarra, the liqueur made in bright green or yellow colours, is distilled locally. It is said by some that Bayonne is the birthplace of mayonnaise, supposedly a corruption of Bayonnaise.

Bayonne is now the centre of certain craft industries that were once widespread, including the manufacture of makilas, traditional Basque walking-sticks. The Fabrique Alza just outside the city is known for its palas, bats used in pelota, the traditional Basque sport.

The port of Bayonne

The port of Bayonne is located at the mouth of the Adour, downstream of the city. It benefits greatly from the natural gas field of Lacq to which it is connected by pipeline. It is also the largest French port for export of maize. The port also receives refined oil products from the Total oil refinery at Donges (800,000 tons per year).

The port also receives Ford and General Motors vehicles from Spain and Portugal and wood both tropical and from Landes.

Tourism services

Due to its proximity to the ocean and the foothills of the Pyrenees as well as its historic heritage, Bayonne has developed important activities related to tourism.

The tourist infrastructure in the surrounding urban area of Bayonne complements the local supply with around 5800 rooms spread over nearly 200 hotels and 86 campsites offering over 14,000 beds.

Sights

The Nive divides Bayonne into Grand Bayonne and Petit Bayonne with five bridges between the two, both quarters still being backed by Vauban’s walls. The houses lining the Nive are examples of Basque architecture, with half-timbering and shutters in the national colours of red and green. Grand Bayonne is the commercial and civic hub, with small pedestrianised streets packed with shops, plus the cathedral and Hôtel de Ville.

The Cathédrale Sainte-Marie is an imposing, elegant Gothic building, rising over the houses, glimpsed along the narrow streets. The cathedral is noted for its charming cloisters.

The Cathédrale Sainte-Marie

The Musée Basque is the finest ethnographic museum of the entire Basque Country. It now has special exhibitions on Basque agriculture, seafaring and pelota, handicrafts and Basque history and way of life.

The Musée Bonnat began with a large collection bequeathed by the local-born painter Léon Bonnat. The museum is one of the best galleries in south west France and has paintings by Edgar Degas, El Greco, Sandro Botticelli, and Francisco Goya, among others.

At the back of Petit Bayonne is the Château Neuf, among the ramparts. Now an exhibition space, it was started by the newly arrived French in 1460 to control the city. The walls nearby have been opened to visitors. They are important for plant life now and Bayonne’s botanic gardens adjoin the walls on both sides of the Nive.

Overlooking the quarter is Vauban’s 1680 Citadelle. The soldiers of Wellington’s army who died besieging the citadelle in 1813 are buried in the nearby English Cemetery, visited by Queen Victoria and other British dignitaries when staying in Biarritz.

The distillery of the famous local liqueur Izarra is located on the northern bank of the Adour and is open to visitors.

Izarra
Local Herbal Liqueur 

Sports and sports facilities

  • Rowing, a popular sport for a long time on the Nive and the Adour near Bayonne.
  • Basketball
  • Football
  • Omnisports. Aviron Bayonnais, created in 1904, includes many sports sections and a large number of members. The pro rugby and football club are the most famous sections of the club.
  • Basque Pelota Bayonne is an important place for Basque pelota.
  • Rugby 
Bayonne Rowing Boat shed

Contact

BAYONNE TOWN HALL
email
contact@bayonne.fr
address
1 avenue Maréchal Leclerc, 64100 Bayonne
phone
+33 5 59 46 60 60