Visit the Museums of the Basque Country, all the museums !!

Bayonne
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The Basque country has been inhabited since prehistoric times . Its history is very rich and its culture deeply rooted . Between ocean and Pyrenean mountains , it is a country of character, with strong traditions . Many museums retrace this great incredible history and this rural and authentic daily life ; reveal to us these ancestral know-how and these ancient trades ; and show us the arts and crafts , which stem from it, from the Paleolithic to the present day.

In the museums , you will discover the architectural, movable and cultural heritage of the Basque Country . You will also be able to soak up its traditions , with Béarn influences , through its trades of yesteryear , its ancient games and its gastronomy , to fully benefit from this Basque way of life . This territory is also turned towards the future ... Certain sites are at the cutting edge of technology to offer you new experiences .

Opening photo: Ospitalea Heritage Education Center

Chateau Abbadie Lesley Williamson

Photo: Château Abbadia, in Hendaye, Lesley Williamson

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Museums on history


The history of a region is what forges its character… Knowing the great events and anecdotes of the past allows you to better understand the identity of a territory . Visiting some emblematic places is an immersive experience to penetrate the heart of a country !

  • Historical Museum of Biarritz : You will learn the history of the city of Biarritz, crossing several themed areas: the sea, the empire Biarritz in the world, the 20th century.
  • The Bishops' Prison in Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port: This building housed the bishops of Bayonne during the " great schism of the West ", without imprisoning them ... But it was subsequently used as a prison, hence its name ! There you will find a permanent exhibition on pilgrims and the " Ways of Saint Jacques de Compostela " and temporary exhibitions.

The Prison of the Bishops

Photo: The Prison of Bishops of Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port

  • Oiasso Museoa in Irun: Let's go for a journey through time, aboard a small train ... You visit the Roman city of Oiasso at the museum, then the Santa Elena necropolis , and the mines of Irugurutzeta .

Oiasso

Photo: Ossaio Museum in Irun

  • Saraleguinea de Guethary Museum : Thanks to the works and donations of the famous sculptor Georges Clément de Swiecinski , you will walk through the history of Guéthary , seen by the artist, from the Roman remains of the fishing village to its transformation, in the 20th century. century, in fashionable spa . Sculptures by Claude Viseux and Dominique André, and mosaics by Michel Duboscq adorn the magnificent park of this neo-Basque residence .
  • Witches Museum: Zugarramurdi is known as the " village of witches ". Since the dawn of time, its mysterious caves have hosted rituals and Sabbaths . This museum takes you on a magical journey , between traditions, customs, legends and witch hunts during the disastrous period of the Inquisition.

Museums on local life and Basque culture

The territories of the Basque Country are very specific: Labourd and its Atlantic coast , Lower Navarre , the Basque hinterland , and Soule , at the foot of the Pyrenees . Each has its own character, history and heritage . The ecomuseums and museums on the life of yesteryear, traditions and everyday objects or sport will allow you to get into the atmosphere of Basque culture .

  • Ortillopitz, Basque House of Sare : Through its architecture and its movable heritage , it is an immersion in Basque culture that is offered to you. Everything is there to get you in the mood!
  • Basque Museum and Bayonne History : In the "House Dagourette" of the 17th century, the collection is centered on life in Northern Basque Country: its language, culture, rituals and traditions, rural life and home, its crafts, its ancient games and its regional festivals ...
  • Ospitalea Heritage Education Center in Irissarry: The Ospitalea Commandery was built on the plan of a traditional Basque farmhouse . This exceptional building was therefore chosen to present the architecture and local heritage to you .
Ospitalea

Photo: Ospitalea Heritage Education Center in Irissarry

Itxassou

Photos: Atéka - Evocation center of the village of Itxassou


  • Musée de la Chaise , in Came: This museum tells a family story. You will discover this trade and this traditional manufacturing . This know-how continues today and you will witness the creation of a chair in the adjoining workshop .
  • Porsche Museum , in Bidarray: Here is an original concept… To satisfy its passion for the Porsche brand, the Auberge Ostape has created a concierge for these luxury cars , “ the Ecurie Ostape ”. It is therefore a constantly changing and constantly renewed collection that you will be able to admire!
  • Rugby Tattoo Family Museum , in Bayonne: Do you want to know everything about rugby? This museum is for you! Far from being an ode to local teams, the museum presents regional, French and international teams . But it is also the whole world of rugby that is available to you.

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The museums of science and nature ...


If you are thirsty for culture, many more general museums will satisfy all your desires. History, science, sport… There is something for everyone.

Bayonne Natural History Museum

Photo: Museum of Natural History of Bayonne

  • Cité de l'Océan , in Biarritz: This space provides you with cutting edge technology to offer you a very immersive experience in the heart of the ocean .

ity of the ocean

Photo: City of the Ocean of Biarritz

  • Biarritz Aquarium : About fifty aquariums present the aquatic fauna from the most local, that of the " Bay of Biscay " to the most exotic, to enter the world of turtles or rays or even attend the seal meal !

Biarritz Aquarium

Photo: Biarritz Aquarium

  • Donostia Aquarium - San-Sebastian : This oceanographic museum presents nearly 200 species from the Cantabrian and tropical sea . Giant aquarium, transparent tunnel , basin to touch certain crustaceans, this museum awakens all your senses!

San Sebastian Aquarium

Photo: Donostia Aquarium - San-Sebastian

  • The Château Observatoire Abbadia , in Hendaye: You enter the atypical world of this somewhat mad scientist Antoine d'Abbadie. An eclectic visit , through different eras and scientific fields , awaits you.

Chateau Abbadie Lesley Williamson

Photo: Château Abbadia, in Hendaye, Lesley Williamson


Art in all its forms


The Basque Country is recognized for the strong and authentic character of its inhabitants . They are free souls who need to express themselves… The arts have therefore been well represented there and for a very long time. But it is also a country that looks into the distance and receives the many influences of the world by sea! You will find museums with exotic scents ...

Isturitz Caves

Photo: Caves of Isturitz and Oxocelhaya

  • Villa Arnaga, Edmond Rostand museum , in Cambo-les-Bains: It is “ the home of Edmond Rostand's dreams ”. You enter the artist's universe , through the events of his life. It is a stroll between the imaginary and the real , in an enchanting setting, both in the villa and in its sumptuous French gardens .
Arnaga Lesley Williamson

Photo: Villa Arnaga in Cambo-les-Bains, Lesley Williamson

  • Asiatica Art Museum , in Biarritz: This museum takes you on a journey to Asia , through artistic works and a culture , very steeped in its religious traditions .
  • Bonnat-Helleu Fine Arts Museum , in Bayonne: This is a very complete visit to the Fine Arts. You will find 7000 works classified by categories: antiques, works of art, tapestries, paintings, sculptures, photographs, graphic arts, coins and medals ... It is also the only French museum, with the exception of the Louvre where you can admire works by Raphael, Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo !
  • Espace Chemin Bideak in Saint-Palais: This former Franciscan convent , at the crossroads of the “ Chemins de Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle ”, offers you a soothing and artistic stroll through nature, art and life in Lower Navarre .

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Museums on local gastronomy


One last essential category, in the Basque Country: gastronomy of course! This terroir is rich in local specialties . We end in greed , with a tour of Basque sweets .

  • Basque Museum of Pastoralism and Cheese , in Helette: It is in a traditional “ cayolar ”, a reconstituted shepherd's hut that you will learn the secrets of makingAgourcheese . It is a beautiful discovery of the pastoral way of life .
  • Bayonne Ham Museum : Bayonne ham is well known, but do you know how it is made? We invite you to rediscover the real Bayonne ham , in the oldest charcuterie in the city , the “ Maison Aubard ”, resulting from a secular and traditional know-how from breeding to refining .
  • The Chocolate Workshop and its Museum , in Bayonne: Chocolate begins its French history in Bayonne. Normal, since it comes to us from Spain. It was the Spanish Infanta Anne of Austria who was in love with it, to the point of not being able to do without it when she married Louis XIII… This museum will tell you in detail this story, followed by a tasting of the "works. from the house ” and for those who want to get their hands dirty, a chocolate creation workshop .
  • Chocolaterie Puyodebat , in Cambo-les-Bains: The chocolate museum was born from the know-how and the passion of this craftsman. The profession of chocolate maker , the tools, the products,… everything that touches directly or indirectly chocolate can be found there. You end the visit with a tasting of “ grand cru ” chocolates .

Puyodebat Museum

Photo: Chocolaterie Puyodebat, in Cambo-les-Bains

  • Basque Cake Museum , in Sare: In a warm and friendly atmosphere, with the sweet scents of pastry, you will learn all the recipes , manufacturing techniques and the decoration of this typical cake . Different formulas for visits and tastings of the products are available.
Basque Cake Museum

Photo: Basque Cake Museum in Sare

Other sources of culture ...


The local craft workshops are " living museums " which welcome you to make you discover their trades, their particular know-how and their works.

  • Les Couteliers Basque de Bidart boutique workshop : The ancients all had their knives always in their pocket ... The knife is more than a daily tool, it is also a tradition, a know-how and it bears the identity of a region.
The Basque Cutlers

Photo: Atelier Boutique Les Couteliers Basque

  • Don Quichosse workshop in Mauléon-Licharre: The visit of the workshop will allow you to better understand its history and its importance for the local economy , to see this very specific manual work and to test this emblematic shoe of the Basque Country .
Don Quichosse

Photo: Don Quichosse store workshop


Here is our tour of the museums of the Basque country completed. Whatever your area of predilection, you will surely find your happiness there to cultivate you and to work your brain.



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Article written by Stéphanie Tempier for the Guide du Pays Basque.


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