Tuesday July 5 I spent the morning in a laundromat waiting for the end of the cycle of the washing machine and then the dryer; but despite two drying cycles the laundry was not dry! Then I traveled the road in the pine forests to Messanges where I looked for a place to put my bivouac and put my clothes to dry on the grass, rare in the dunes. The village is a suburban complex, certainly for rent. Further the beaches behind very high dunes. Of course, access to car parks is limited in height to … 1.90 meters. I went on my way to find in the village an embankment at the edge of the road along a grassy stream to hang up my laundry. To travel is also to take charge of stewardship, otherwise it does not follow. The temperature was pleasant at 24°C with a refreshing ocean wind.
|Laundry drying on the grass|
Wednesday, July 6 was not a memorable day as the Landes coast does not correspond to my temperament. The villages are a string of houses of which, in this first fortnight of July, many are uninhabited. In the streets and along the beaches, elderly men take their dogs to piss and grandmothers doze on benches, public benches, public benches! A few young couples walk idle hand in hand. A slice of summer life in this period of political unrest and union unrest to sow discord among the good people of France and then hold the government responsible for it. In Capbreton I whirled around to find access to the lighthouse at the end of the pier; indeed the narrowness of the streets implies a one-way treasure hunt. Obstinate I finally found the lighthouse, but nothing to be amazed about. Alas, I set my sights on the Intermarché car park.
|Climb the dune to access the beach|
Thursday, July 7 a short morning of visits to two villages each housing a typical church. Saint-André-de-Seignanx has a fortified church surrounded as befits the cemetery. Inside the contemporary stained glass windows, one depicts St-Vincent-de-Paul and his house that I visited. The other three are more recent and very colorful. As you approach Saint-Barthélemy, the church is discovered on a rocky peak in the distance, hidden by trees. The access road is very steep, negotiating the bends required several maneuvers. A parking lot held out its arms to me at the foot of the church which is not remarkable except for the situation offering a sumptuous panorama. Alone, I decided to put my penates in the parking lot facing the landscape.
Friday, July 8 I left early to be in Bayonne around 7:00 am opening of the cathedral. I parked the truck in the Allée Boufflers parking lot at the foot of the start of the circuit proposed by the Green guide, scheduled for a duration of 2h30 in the historic district of Bayonne, which I covered in approximately 3h00. I spent time to visit the interior of Sainte-Marie Cathedral and its sumptuous 16th century stained glass windows. The ambulatory is remarkable with pointed vaults joining the apsidal chapels. A huge painting in very dark height represents the last supper of Christ. Then it was the old castle currently housing the administrative services of the army. I strolled through the medieval streets lined with half-timbered houses. The houses along the Adour have arcades and are mainly white in color. I crossed Biarritz without stopping, presenting little interest to me. I continued without enthusiasm up to Saint-de-Luz by an uninterrupted road of houses without grace. On arrival I found a parking space in a parking lot dedicated to motorhomes which was already very busy, like in a tin of sardines, long live wild camping!
Saturday, July 9 I left from early morning to visit Saint-Jean-de-Luz out of sight of the tourists polluting the photos; alas the delivery trucks were there for their job. I discovered the birthplace of Maurice Ravel, one of whose most famous works is the Boléro, of which Maurice Béjart composed a ballet starring Jorge Donn on a red circular platform; it won't be forgotten! The center of Saint-Jean is pedestrianized. The Saint-Jean-Baptiste church is doubly interesting by its massive external architecture and its interior composed of three floors of galleries, the whole is covered by a carina vault. The highlight is the gold (!) colored chancel altarpiece with holy figures, apostles and local figures. The pulpit is supported by sphinxes. The religious service took place at 8:00 a.m. with devotees of all ages. I left the sardine box around 10:00 am. I crossed villages of the Basque Country with typical houses with tourists strolling in the streets. The car parks, prohibited for motorhomes from 8:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m., are often very far away requiring a painful walk, I refrain. I found a platform to bivouac at the exit of Itxassou.
|Port of Saint-Jean-de-Luz|
Sunday, July 10 I left shortly before 8:00 a.m., in the cool, I arrived at La Bastide-Clairence around 8:40 a.m. No tourists, no one in the streets. I walked up the steep street to reach the Basque-style Notre-Dame-de-l'Assomption church with its three levels of galleries. Further on, the town of Saint-Palais did not catch my attention, with its overcrowded population and crowded car parks. It was unfortunately the same situation in Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, starting point on this Sunday of a walk on the way to Compostela that I traveled with my vehicle up to +1100 meters of altitude, the weather and the temperature were ideal for establishing my bivouac, alas prohibition signs were stuck in the ground. I went down to St-Jean to find parking on a rubble site.
|La Bastide Clairence|