LIVING IN BAYONNE AND AT THE BASQUE COAST
How to settle in ?
With its colorful houses and surrounded by water, its many bars and restaurants, shops and festivals, Bayonne is a charming and vivid town where life is to enjoy!
However many students have to get along with a low budget compared to their interest in exploring their new country or city of living. Here we gathered some ideas to find your place and get along in the new environment…
Culture and Arts
France is famous for its richness of culture and arts and also Bayonne’s cultural life is rich: cinemas, theaters, museums and an exciting nightlife wait for you. Students enjoy discounts at almost all cultural events and spaces !
Do you like watching movies ? If so, you’re in the right place!
Art house cinemas
There are three different cinemas in Bayonne, two of them provide many different films in original versions (with French subtitles) : L’Atalante and l’Autre Cinema in Saint Esprit, Bayonne. They belong together and correspond to the rich tradition of French cinema. L’Atalante also includes a bar and a small gallery to visit. Their lm program is well selected and it is a particular experience to visit the movies, because they are usually well attended (student’s ticket: 4.50€). The cinema Le Royal in Biarritz is also a very good choice for original versions.
Additionally you can find the Cinema Mega CGR in Bayonne’s South and the Monciné in Anglet, where you can choose from a wide variety of films, mostly dubbed in French.
“Always take your Student Aqui Pass Card with you for student discounts!”
To be or not to be? Bayonne’s city theater is in the same building as the city hall in the center of Bayonne and plays many different pieces.
In the Rue des Basques in Grand Bayonne you can find a small theater called “Luna Negra” which offers different plays, cabaret, small concerts and a theater in a cozy atmosphere.
Gare du Midi
In the center of Biarritz you can find the theater “Gare du Midi” in the building of the old railway station. There you can visit musicals, dance shows, theater plays and cabaret.
The Basque Museum
Euskara badakizu? Do you speak Basque ?
For the daily life of Bayonne the Basque culture is very important. To get to know more about the Basque culture and the city’s history it is highly recommended to visit the Basque Museum! It’s exhibitions change often and deal with different topics of historic and contemporary life.
For those who love art, Bayonne houses an art museum and various small art galleries that are worth a visit. The Museum Bonnat-Helleu (currently under renovation) is specialized in ne arts.
Interesting exhibitions, collections and excursions concerning natural history and wildlife you can visit at the Natural History Museum Ansot, sited in the heart of a natural park and next to the Nive river. For sea-lovers it may be interesting to visit the Sea Museum with Aquarium in Biarritz and watch the seals being fed ! It is also a perfect spot to enjoy the ocean view !
• Locations and night life
In Bayonne and its surroundings you can find many concert and event locations.
To name just a view of them :
The Atabal (Biarritz)
The Atabal in Biarritz has a rich program all year long and hosts different concerts and events (rock, alternative, pop …), small art exhibitions and music classes. You will definitely nd something for your taste!
Ecuries de Baroja ans Quintao (Anglet)
Ecuries de Baroja in Anglet also offers a variety of concerts and cultural events in a special atmosphere: the building is a beautifully renovated former horse stable and hosts various artist’s studios and music groups.
The Quintao in Anglet with its modern architecture (including a terrace with a view) is a good place to go for many events (dance gatherings, shows, conferences) and includes also a restaurant and café.
In Petit Bayonne you will find many bars and peñas, where concerts and sometimes also theater plays take place. The Kalostrape in the Rue Marengo is a Basque cultural center which offers many different events (DJs, concerts, language exchanges, cultural events) and is definitely a place to visit! In one old bunker in the castle you can find the event location Le Magneto which you frankly have to like in its rather “underground” atmosphere (mostly Rock concerts).
You play music yourself? In the Caveau des Augustins in Grand Bayonne you can join the jam sessions ! Jazz, swing and 60s/70s music is presented. To find a band to play in, visit the BIJ (see below). The Irish pub Katie Daly’s next to the town hall is a place where the foreigners of Bayonne gather in the evenings – and where you can order in English!
For further information about culture, arts and places to go out at night check the following websites :
Calender of events in Bayonne
Foire au Jambon (4-5 jours)
Journées du chocolat
21 June: Fête de la Musique
11 – 14 Medieval Market
Fridays : Fridays on the city wall
Big Festival Biarritz
Fêtes de Bayonne
Fridays : Fridays on the city wall
5 & 6 Les Corridas
Dance festival « Les Temps d’Aimer »
Latin America Film Festival
Marché de Noël – Christmas market (until 24th)
As you will recognize soon, food and eating are very important for the Bayonnais and for French people in general. Here you can find a view hints on the French’s eating lifestyle.
In the restaurant
A restaurant menu regularly consists of three courses (entrée, plat, dessert), but it is also alright to order the main course plus one of the side dishes as a menu. Bread will always be served next to a main course and it is not unusual to drink a glass of wine at lunch time. When you have finished your meal you order the bill with the words “l’addition s’il vous plait” and the waiter will bring it to your table or you go directly to the counter to pay separately.
Enjoy the traditional food market each Saturday near les Halles in Bayonne. Here you can buy fresh fruit and vegetables, wine, cheese and other regional products. And it is the meeting point of the town’s inhabitants. The attitude is: to see and to be seen!
Food and drinks
Bayonne’s kitchen consists of many specialties of the region: typical Basque dishes are Bacalao (cod fish), grilled and roasted meats, Marmitako (tuna pot), Pintxos (Basque tapas), Piperade (red sauce) and sheep and goat cheeses. For dessert you can order a typical Gateau Basque (Basque cake) or milk rice.
A GOOD TIP
“It is a must-do to drink the best hot chocolate in town (or may- be in France) at Cazenave!”
Bayonne : City of Chocolate
Bayonne is called the capital city of chocolate in France: as you will notice quickly there are many chocolate shops and small chocolatiers (chocolate makers) which o er excellent chocolate in various different styles and tastes. Visit the Atelier du Chocolat for a guided tour about the art of making chocolate!
In Bayonne you will find the best wines from the Bordeaux region and traditional Basque drinks like Izarra (sweet liquor, made in Bayonne) or Patxaran (liquor served as digestif) which are absolutely worth a taste! The Basque Country is also famous for its cidre (apple cider) that is produced in the heart of the countryside.
Work in France
Do you need or want to gain some extra money during your stay in France ? No problem !
Since 2007 France permits all students to have a part time job (20hrs/week). Students from EU- countries (and Switzerland) may work freely and without restriction while studying in France. Under the following conditions other international students are allowed to work:
“A residency permit (VLS-TS, validated by OFII, or a residency permit in addition to a visa) marked “student” entitles the student to accept paid employment for up to 60% of the legally defined work year (or 964 hours per year), without prior administrative authorization.
Note : The time that students spend in internships connected with their academic program (and covered by a written internship agreement) are not counted toward the maximum allowable working hours, even if the student is compensated during the internship.
The minimum gross hourly wage, set by law, is €9,53. With holding reduces the worker’s net wage by about 20%.”
(derived from campusfrance.fr)
The first address in Bayonne to find a part time job is the “BIJ” (Bureau Information Jeunesse) the youth’s information o ce. There you can nd small jobs (like Babysitting, private lessons, etc.) by filling out a form that will be accessible to the public. The BIJ also helps you with your CV in French and provides information about events, trainings et cetera.
Bureau Information Jeunesse
Place Marc Aubert
71, rue Bourgneuf
Tél. : 05 59 59 35 29
Monday to Friday from 9h to 12h30 and 14h to 18h.
Pôle Emploi – Employment Office
The employment o ce is the central agency for jobs throughout France which o ers counseling for job searches, formations and concrete job o ers. In Bayonne the office of Pôle Emploi is next to the Adour, about 20minutes walking from the city center. You can also register and search for jobs online on : www.pole-emploi.fr
“Summer jobs : For the fêtes de Bayonne and the tourist season in summer many restaurants and bars search for staff!”
You want to improve your French accent ? Go for it !
Cleremo language center
At the Campus of Bayonne you can find the CLEREMO language center which helps you learning French as a second language in providing French classes on different levels. Two times a week there are free conversation classes to join in, also in English and Spanish! The center helps you as well to find a tandem-partner with its tandem-platform (language exchange) – usually at the beginning of the semester you can register : http://cleremo.univ-pau.fr/live/
Don’t hesitate to use all the possibilities to improve your French skills! Also use online platforms and exchanges to push the limits further in French : www.lexiquefle.free.fr, www.francaisfacile.com
Listening to French radio or watching French television also helps you improving your language competence : www.tv5.org, www.arte.tv
EMMAUS : the everyday flea market for everything !
Second-hand goods (furniture, kitchen ware, clothes, books, bikes, etc.) you can find at Emmaus, which is a big warehouse similar to an everyday flea market that exists all over France to provide cheap second-hand ware for everyone. If you are searching to furnish your apartment, you need a bike or you want to buy a new kettle and don’t want to spend too much money: Emmaus is the place to go!
Unfortunately EMMAUS (Bayonne/ Tarnos) is not easy to reach. Take the bus number 11 from Bayonne (e.g. Mairie) until the stop “Deyris” – from there it’s a 15min walk next to Route Nationale 177.
Check the timetable of the bus!
361 Route Abbé Pierre, 40220 Tarnos – 05 59 55 23 13 Opening hours : tue-sat 8h-12h et 14h-18h
THE GOOD TIP
“Ideas for rainwear : if you don’t want to spend a big amount of money visit Emmaus– there you will find a huge amount of secondhand clothing ! For the ones who love to be dressed like a real Atlantic coast inhabitant : Aigle provides all you need for a rainy weather day (medium prices for quality pro- ducts made in France). But! Also don’t forget to buy sun cream ! The summer is hot !”
Did you know that the Basque Country is famous for its green hills with grazing sheep? The weather is responsible for the beautiful landscape and that everything is growing very fast: in the winter and spring time it rains a lot and in summer and autumn the sun is very strong. This is why there are also palm trees growing next to the green meadows and many lakes of the region. “Welcome to the Basque Country”, people will tell you, “where you experience four seasons in one day!”. To be best equipped for the changing weather conditions, we suggest you to buy a light rain coat that ts in your bag and some nice rain boots that will help you to get a real Bayonnais/-e !
Get around, the surroundings are amazing !
A perfect stay in Bayonne also includes that you get to know the beautiful surroundings!
Les Landes : Capbreton, Hossegor, Soustons
Up north (department Landes) you will find lonely beaches and amazing walks in huge pine forests. On bicycle and walking trails next to hidden lakes you can discover the wildlife and the ample landscape next to the coastline. Small villages like Capbreton, Hossegor and Soustons are great places to stay and to follow all kinds of activities (swimming, surfing, sailing, shopping, casino, restaurants…).
There are several bus lines that take you out of Bayonne into all directions. To get up north into the department Landes, you can use the buses provided by RDTL (www.rdtl.fr/index.php?niveau=2&niveau_id=80). To get around south and east of Bayonne (also for long distances) take a look at the homepage of Transport 64 (www.transports64.fr/Reseau) – also to get to the Southern Basque Country (Spanish Basque Country), take this bus lines.
Attention ! : Notice that the timetables are subject to changes often, also that the departure times are different on the weekdays then during the weekend, but also change with the seasons and the school holidays!
More north you will nd Arcachon with the biggest sand dune in Europe and the amazing city of Bordeaux that you have to visit at least once (by train 1 hour and 45 minutes). Also other big cities in France you can reach by train very easy (Paris in about 5 hours, Toulouse in 3 hours and 30 minutes, etc.).
The coastline : Biarritz, Saint-Jean de Luz
If you prefer to go down south the coastal line, Biarritz and Saint-Jean de Luz on the French coast, as well as San Sebastian (Donostia) and Bilbao are remarkable towns and cities to visit. Saint-Jean de Luz is an old shery town with a small shing harbor that is still active. Biarritz (reachable with the Chronoplus bus from Bayonne in 15min) is a famous tourist destination and beautiful town at the coast: here you can find many shops, arts, restaurants and an international atmosphere.
Bilbao, San Sebastian (Donostia)
If you are looking for urban atmosphere don’t miss out for Bilbao which is a capital of design and architecture and also houses the Guggenheim art museum. On your way to Bilbao don’t miss the special and wonderful atmosphere of the streets in San Sebastian (Donostia), where you should definitely taste Tapas accompanied by a glass of fresh cold beer.
San Sebastian will be the European Capital of Culture 2016.
How to get to the Southern Basque Country (Spain) :
As the railway tracks of the French and the Spanish railway systems are di erent, you have to change trains in the border town Hendaye to get to San Sebastian. In Hendaye there is a tram that takes you to San Sebastian in 1h30 (for the price of 2,50,-). To get to Hendaye you can also use the bus (Transport 64). Either way you have to change the vehicle in Hendaye (or Irun).
Interior Basque Country
Furthermore there are plenty of marvelous small villages that are must-sees for an original Basque experience. The countryside apart from the coastal line is perfect for hiking trips or small tours in the hills, farm visits and guided tours for Basque culture and heritage. To name only one example for this unique experience, you can visit the charming village of Ainhoa, which is by car only 20 minutes from Bayonne and is a typical Basque village with a history that reaches back into the 13th century.
How to get around?
To get around in France there are several possibilities: you can use the train system of SNCF – if you book your journey a few weeks in advance you will find good offers for your wished destinations. If you plan to get around a lot, it is a good idea to think about buying a “carte jeune” – a reduction card for all under 25 which offers 20-40% reduction to the standard prices (book in advance, it is a lot cheaper!).