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Friday, 3 July 2015

RETURN THROUGH FRANCE 1

 
We left Spain on a rainy Saturday after an aborted effort to stop at Bilbao to visit the Guggenheim museum and stopped at St Jean de Luz just inside the French frontier.  We've been here several times before but this time we stayed in a different campsite a bit further from the town.  The plots were shaded by beautiful mulberry trees, laden with fruit, so we made sure not to park directly beneath the branches!  Every day I collected a bowl full of these delicious fruit which were easily reached from the ground.
 

 
On Sunday morning we cycled into town and found the whole place buzzing with life for 'la fète de Dieu'  The service in the cathedral was broadcast into the streets filling the air with beautiful singing and there were groups of dancers on every corner performing their traditional dances.  We gradually made our way to the central square where all the groups were congregating to perform on the stages that had been set up.

 
We sat with a cool beer in a shady bar and watched all the activity and when one of the dancers saw my sketches she insisted on taking a photo on her phone!  I made several videos and took lots of photos with the intention of doing more sketches later.

 
Here are a few scribbles from some of the photos but there are lots more to have a go at later. 
I'd like to link to one of the videos but blogger doesn't seem to want to let me!
 
 
So here is one of stills instead!

 
The architecture in the Basque region of France is very distinctive with shallow sloping roofs with a wide overhang for shade and the buildings have colourful wood decoration on the facades.  This is one of the café bars in the square drawn from another one opposite. 
St Jean de Luz is famous for being the town where France and Spain signed a peace treaty as well as the wedding of the Spanish Infanta to Louis XIV in 1660.
We stayed here for 6 days until the weather turned damp again and it was time to be on our way northwards.