Opening photo: The Gardens of Villa Arnaga, Photo © Brad Pict AdobeStock
On the banks of the Adour, the large public garden of Bayonne is made up of two very different parts. On the one hand, the Garden Léon Bonnat's classic green space, "French", with very straight pathways that lead to a central fountain with jets of water, in pure French style of the early 20th century. On the other side, the René-Cassin Garden is an “ English-style ” garden, with freer curves, with a simple and bucolic basin. In the first, you will admire beautiful, perfectly matched flower essences. In the second, grasses and seasonal flowers give it a wilder aspect.
Bayonne Public Garden Photo © Kevin | Adobestock
On the other side of Bayonne, the Parc de Caradoc impresses above all with its hundred-year-old trees. The park of the old castle of Caradoc was originally private and the species that compose it are remarkable. Today it is a public place very popular with families because it hosts farm animals, an educational apiary and play areas. The view over Bayonne, with the Pyrenees as a backdrop, alone deserves to linger.
If the Bayonne Botanical Garden is smaller, it is an atypical place. It is perched above the ramparts and offers an original angle of view on the city below. In a Japanese atmosphere, you will discover unusual essences. The bamboo grove is also very refreshing. Its Asian furniture and its small bridge, which spans a basin with carp and turtles, form an exotic universe. It is a moment of unusual escape and an invitation to travel that is offered to you.
Bayonne Botanical Garden
In Anglet, the Maharin Park is very natural, in all simplicity, but very pleasant. It is a wooded park, with beautiful lawns, crossed by a small stream. Here you can practice walking or running, while the children have fun in the playgrounds. And to bring the whole family together, picnic tables are at your disposal.
The Paul Jovet Botanical Garden in Saint-Jean-de-Luz is emblematic because it brings together many species of local plants. It is designed as a series of landscapes of the Basque coast. A section is still reserved for more exotic species. It has an educational vocation and is animated by workshops, visits, discovery outings... for young people. But it is also very interesting from an ecological and scientific point of view. It's a walk or a visit that the whole family will love!
If you fancy an unusual sporting activity and experiencing thrills, try the Grande Tyrolienne du lac de Saint-Pée-sur-Nivelle, near Saint-Jean-de-Luz.
The Paul Jovet Botanical Garden of Saint-Jean-de-Luz CC BY SA 4.0
In Cambo-les-Bains, the Gardens of Villa Arnaga are a must. Around the villa dedicated to the artist Edmond Rostand, articulate a set of green spaces that are both exotic and harmonious. The poetry of the English garden is a corner of paradise for dreamers, who will let their souls fly along the flowery paths. The structured splendor of the French garden is a work of architecture in itself. The wooded park is dotted with remarkable trees. Children will appreciate the birds that roam freely there...
The Gardens of Villa Arnaga Photo © Lesley Williamson
If the reputation of the Thermes de Cambo-les-Bains is well established, its Jardin des Thermes is also worth a detour. And for good reason! Bathed by the Nive, the climate is mild, the miraculous waters, the lush vegetation, with amazing tropical species and many palm trees. Whether you are a curist or a simple visitor, the walk is charming and free! Read our article on the thermal baths, to see photos of the garden.
If you are with your family, take advantage of the beautiful Forest of the Rabbits park. You will enjoy the country walk and the children will love the contact with these little furballs!
The garden in front of the Cambo-les-Bains thermal baths. Photo © Lesley Williamson
A stone's throw from the city of Bayonne, the Plaine d'Ansot is a natural area classified Natura 2000. Indeed, it is a zone of " barthes ", which allows the observation of wild fauna and in particular many birds. To help you understand this very specific place, you have on-site access to a museum, a Maison des Barthes, activities and guided tours. Here is something to enhance your walk! Above all, don't forget your binoculars.
The “ barthes ” are marshy meadows. They are found on the flood-prone banks of the Nive. These wetlands, made up of swamps, meadows, reed beds, peat bogs… are exceptional ornithological nature reserves. They provide birds with nesting spaces and abundant food.
The town of Arcangues benefits from two neighboring nature reserves. The Chourroumillas Pond Regional Nature Reserve is a very special wetland. Not far from the Nive, it has a pond and a network of streams, ponds, marshy meadows… If you are patient and observant, you will surely meet European pond turtles and mink, to name only its stars! You will also find a multitude of birds, fish, insects...
The ErrotaHandia Regional Nature Reserve extends it with a more forest and grassland environment, around Lake ErrotaHandia. Barely 3 km separate them, which means that the fauna is identical there. However, the environment is still different and offers you two versions of the same ecosystem.
In Hendaye, the coastal path will take you to the Domaine du Château d'Abbadia. This environment of steep cliffs is impressive and reflects this permanent confrontation with the power of the ocean. It is a protected natural site which allows you to discover the typical flora of the Basque coast and to admire discreetly the incessant broom of nesting birds. As a bonus, the view of the unusual Château d'Abbadia is exceptional.
Here is our selection of parks and gardens in the Basque Country which ends. But you will find many other natural sites, whether on the coast or in the Basque hinterland.