Wednesday, January 11, 2012

France Day 6 of 18 - Biarritz and Bayonne

Biarritz sits on the west coast of France and the views are nothing short of majestic. Seafood is very popular, and we decided to have dinner close enough to shore to hear the massive tide bring in the strong waves. Afterwards, we drove around the rocky shoreline and just watched the lighthouse reveal the beautiful ocean as we listened to the waves.

Biarritz is a beach town where the prominent, well off French go to vacation. We looked around the massive and rich Hotel du Palais which use to be where Empress Eugenie (the wife of Napoleon III) built a palace on the beach. The beach is littered with families and and people sun tanning, surfing, and having a good time. Beware... the water is still cold!
Biarritz's casino was well.. pretty much a let down after seeing Monte Carlo and Vegas. Granted we went in during the day, but it was very unimpressive. We were, however able to go get some southwest authentic French food that was quite delicious. We ate some type of chicken and fried cheese dish in a restaurant that seemed to be run out of a home which was extremely popular. We were almost completely depending on my French at this time since we were practically the only Americans in the area. At places like these, most people (waitresses excetra don't speak English, and English menus are very rare).

Next we were off to Bayonne which is know for their chocolate. Well, I consider myself a bit of a chocolate connoisseur, so we found the oldest chocolate shop and found a table. I decided to order a chocolate and cinnamon drink, and Uncle Map ordered the basic chocolate drink. A few minutes later, our drinks arrived, mine in a little espresso looking glass with a full glass of water that came with it. I was somewhat disappointed as Uncle Map's drink was a full cup. Then I sipped mine....good grief!!! this was the most intense chocolate experience I have ever had! One sip and then I had to gulp down some water. Whoa!I was determined to try to finish my little espresso cup, but after about an hour, I finally gave up. Yes, this was the only chocolate that beat Aunt Venture.

The we decided to check out Saint Jean de Luz. This quaint fishing village was where Louis XIV, (the sun king which was very important to France and which you will hear about later in my blog) was married to the young girl at the time Maria-Teresa, of Spain in 1660 which tried to unite the countries. We visited the church where they were married and saw the wall that was built up over the door they left out of so that on one else could leave through those doors again. Most notable about this town was the extraordinary macaroons that I could not get enough of!

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