Bayonne throws a major party!
Dating back to 1932, when four friends from the Bayonne region decided to start the Bayonne Festival (emulating the festival in Pampalona), this festival has grown in scale, and it's now up there with the most popular events in the country, even in Europe.
The peñas (Festival associations) organise and structure the festivities, while the Bandas (traditional bands often sponsored by peñas) handle the music, one of the most important aspects of any festival in the South West. The parade of illuminated floats which makes its way down the main road is one of the highlights of the festival. Finally, one of the long-standing traditions is the daily "bull running" (although they are in fact cows in this case), which takes place on Place Paul-Bert every Friday, Saturday and Sunday throughout the festival. And finally, don't forget to wear white, with a red neckerchief, if you're attending the Fêtes de Bayonne!
Long live King Leon!
Wednesday at 10pm is the official opening of the Fêtes de Bayonne! Make your way to the Place de la Liberté for this unique and magnificent occasion. Good humour and excitement are the order of the day. The symbolic moment of the handing over of keys to the city has King Léon and his court salute the revellers from the balcony of the town hall!
And celebrations are only just beginning ... the festayres go partying all night in jubilation and music. Please note that a white outfit with a red scarf are a must!
Dodging the cows!
The famous courses de vache are an ancient form of bullfighting, involving cows and no bloodshed. This traditional event is one of the highlights of the festivities at the Fetes de Bayonne! Dressed in white and wearing a red scarf, the most courageous among the crowd will enter into the "course". Head for the Place Paul Bel, where the cows are released.
This highly anticipated event is intrinsic to the identity of the Bayonne festival. Take care, however, to respect the safety rules! Minors are not allowed into the arena and spectators who are not taking part in the race must remain behind the safety barriers. Get ready to cheer on the brave participants!
Classical music on the coast.
Set up in 1960 to commemorate the tercentenary of the marriage of Louis XIV and the Infanta of Spain, this music festival on the Basque coast celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2010.
Classical music concerts and exhibitions are scheduled during three weeks in various venues along the Basque coast including St. Jean de Luz, Anglet, Ascain, Bayonne, Biarritz and so on.
Visitors are invited to come and discover this magnificent region on the oaccasion of the music festival! The festival will pay tribute to Claude Debussy in 2012 to mark the fiftieth anniversary of his birth.
Who's the strongest?
From the soka tira (tug-of-war) to the straw wagon lift, the milk jug holders, the team bag race and the maize collecting, you will be presented with various Basque style tests of strength. Take the opportunity to discover these impressive and fun games. And, if you wish, you can even have a go yourself!