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Tourist attractions French Atlantic Coast

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  • 1 Grand Théâtre Recommended Recommended

    Architecture, castles and historic districts

    Place de la Comédie

    Built from 1773 to 1780 by architect Victor Louis in pure neo-Classical style, this is one of the most beautiful theatres in France. The refined interior staircase inspired Garnier for his Opéra de Paris. The auditorium is made up of pillars, ramps, ..

  • 2 Musée d'Aquitaine Recommended Recommended

    Museums and art

    20 cours Pasteur

    Housed in the faculty of literature and science's old building, this museum traces mankind's history in Aquitaine from prehistory to the present day through extensive collections displayed over two floors. The section devoted to Bordeaux's Golden Age..

  • 3 Museum of Fine Arts Recommended Recommended

    Museums and art

    Place du Dr-Esquirol

    An attractive backdrop for this museum, located in four 16C-17C residences (Estrades, Vaurs, Vergès and Monluc): medieval art (a 16C Brussels tapestry entitled The Month of March); archaeological items include the jewel of the collection, a 1C BC Gre..

  • 4 Bonaguil Castle Recommended Recommended

    Architecture, castles and historic districts

    This astounding fortress, which rises on the borders of the Perigord Noir and of Quercy, is one of the most perfect examples of late 15C and 16C military architecture. Its particular feature is that under the appearance of a traditional castles, it p..

  • 5 Musée Bonnat Recommended Recommended

    Museums and art

    5 rue Jacques-Laffitte

    The building was designed in 1897 to house the collection and artwork of Bayonne artist Léon Bonnat (1833-1922), who made his fortune painting portraits of the upper classes of his day. The collections (13C-19C) are arranged thematically, blending th..

  • 6 Church of St. John the Baptist Recommended Recommended

    Religious buildings

    Rue Gambetta

    Inside this plain and rather severe church, the raised choir is closed off by a beautiful wrought-iron screen, and a glistening gold reredos dating from the 17C. To the right of the main entrance, note the blocked doorway, the custom after a royal ma..

  • 7 Basque Country Recommended Recommended

    Nature and gardens

    The French Basque country, flanking the Pyrenees and the Bay of Biscay, stretches between the Adour and Bidassoa rivers, combining ocean, mountain and forest in equal parts. It is composed of three provinces, Labourd (from Biarritz to Hendaye and Rhu..

  • 8 Gorges de Kakouetta Recommended Recommended

    Nature and gardens

    de Ste-Engrâce

    These gorges, sunk vertically in the limestone, are beautiful as well as impressive, with the beginning of the Grand Étroit the most grandiose of all; this splendid canyon is more than 200m deep but only 3-10m wide. The torrent roars through the long..

  • 9 Isturitz and Oxocelhaya Caves Recommended Recommended

    Nature and gardens

    D 251

    The superimposed Isturitz Cave and Oxocelhaya Cave below it are abandoned underground beds of the Arberoue River. The Neanderthals and Cro-Magnons left their treasures in these cathedrals of limestone, full of monumental columns and majestic hangings..

  • 10 Somport Pass Recommended Recommended

    Nature and gardens

    This pass, at an altitude of 1,632m, is the only one in the central Pyrenees open year round. It has been steeped in history since Roman times, and up until the 12C was a major stopping place on the pilgrim route to Santiago de Compostela. Nowadays, ..

  • 11 Passage du Gois Recommended Recommended

    Nature and gardens

    This 4.5km-long submersible causeway, in use since the 17C, was the only way for vehicles to reach the island from the late 19C until 1971, when the toll bridge was opened. Shoals formed the Gois causeway; the name is derived from a local term, goise..

  • 12 Church of N.-D.-la-Grande Recommended Recommended

    Religious buildings

    Place Charles-de-Gaulle

    This typical Poitevin-style Romanesque church has a 12C façade with lively sculpted decorations on the theme of the Incarnation. On summer evenings the special lighting recreates the façade's medieval colours. The fifteen-minute polychrome spectacle ..

  • 13 Church of St Hilaire le Grand Recommended Recommended

    Religious buildings

    Rue St-Hilaire

    This large Romanesque church, built in 1049, is a place of pilgrimage, and is considered by some to be the most interesting in Poitiers. Outside, observe the chevet, the chapels grafted onto the transept and the ambulatory. Inside, the choir and tran..

  • 14 Place de la Bourse Recommended Recommended

    Architecture, castles and historic districts

    place de la Bourse

    This pretty horseshoe-shaped square was built from 1730 to 1755, based on the layouts of architects Gabriel father and son. It is hemmed in by two typical buildings with columns on the upper levels bearing triangular pediments: to the north the Palai..

  • 15 Cité de l'Océan - City of the Ocean Recommended Recommended

    Museums and art

    1 avenue de la Plage - la Milady

    The Cité de l'Océan building was designed by the American Steven Holl to resemble a large wave between the sky and the earth. A visit here, which can be combined with a trip to the Biarritz Musée de la Mer (Sea Museum) - Aquarium, puts the visitor in..

  • 16 Salle de La Verna Recommended Recommended

    Nature and gardens

    Espace accueil Arrakotchepia - quartier Calla

    Discovered in 1953, La Verna cavern is 194m high and 245m in diameter, making it the third largest known chasm in the world. As you visit this chamber, into which a river disappears, you will learn about the history of the pioneers who, in 1950, bega..

  • 17 Château d'Oiron Recommended Recommended

    Architecture, castles and historic districts

    10 rue du Château

    Sited among cedar trees, this magnificent Renaissance castle has since 1933 been known for its successful blending of ancient and contemporary art. Its original owners (the Gouffier family) had a collection of Muses including Diana the Huntress and h..

  • 18 Corniche Basque Recommended Recommended

    Nature and gardens

    r. du Phare

    From Ciboure harbour, turn right and take Rue du Phare up to the lighthouse, then to the semaphore (on Rue du Sémaphore) to admire the view stretching southwest over the Basque Coast from Cabo Higuer (Cape Fig) in Spain to Biarritz. In the foreground..

  • 19 Château d'Antoine Abbadie Recommended Recommended

    Architecture, castles and historic districts

    Route de la Corniche

    The explorer and astronomer Antoine Abbadie (1810-1897) commissioned Viollet-le-Duc to build him a castle that would suit his taste for the Middle Ages and science. This amazing Neo-Gothic building, boasting crenelated towers and pepperpot roofs, is ..

  • 20 Marquèze Recommended Recommended

    Museums and art

    route de Solférino

    In the heart of the Landes de Gascogne Regi o nal Nature Park, the Marquèze area occupies almost 20ha in the protected area of the valleys of the Eyre. It has been reconstructed to present life as it was organised here in the late 19C. Almost 30 buil..

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