I’ve never heard anyone talk about the coast line along France’s southern coast on the Atlantic side — that is until I looked up biking routes and found the Euro Velo 1 runs through there and there’s a comprehensive website for the French section that sold me. I saw the pictures from the Hendaye to Bayonne route, the very most southern portion of France and I configured out entire trip so that we could bike that portion of the Atlantic for our cross-Europe tour.

francecoastbikingcliffs-1

Above is a panorama on the bridge between Spain and France.

The plan was to bike up from Pamplona to San Sebastian (done, with mixed results) and then bike up the first stage of the Euro Velo 1 into France, take a train to Bordeaux, then another train to Nantes where the Euro Velo 6 — the route we’re taking across Europe begins. I am so glad I scheduled that detour, because the ride up the cliffs was beyond expectations.

francecoastbikingcliffs-2

The bay in Hadaye, just a quiet little beach town where Spain and France connect.

francecoastbikingcliffs-3

The view is beautiful, so lush and green with the dramatic sweep of ocean in the distance, but the breeze is even better.

francecoastbikingcliffs-4

With dedicated bike lanes, it was the easiest biking we had of this trip… no more watching out for traffic or worrying about getting run over.

francecoastbikingcliffs-5

We would huff and puff our way up these steep hills, then find ourselves at the top, looking back on a view like this.

francecoastbikingcliffs-6

And really, we did a lot of bike pushing, the route is listed as “expert” but the nice part about going up hill is that you get to fly down the other side, the wind drying off your sweat, the endorphins kicking in, sun drenched and blissed out.

francecoastbikingcliffs-7

I said to Drew, “look we can just walk up to the edge!” — I will forever be an American in my awe of the lack of safety railings around the world.

francecoastbikingcliffs-8

The whole trip was worth it to see this.

francecoastbikingcliffs-9

The coastline just goes on and on, with little spots to pull off and have lunch.

francecoastbikingcliffs-10

We took the kids out quite a bit, because this photo, courtesy of my son Cole, is the view they have most of the time.

francecoastbikingcliffs-11

You could get used to such a life.

francecoastbikingcliffs-12

Feels like Greece for a second, until it doesn’t.

francecoastbikingcliffs-13

 

Ahh.