Located a few kilometres off the coast of southwestern France, Bayonne sits at the confluence of the Adour and Nive rivers in French Basque Country.
The rivers in Bayonne divide it into distinctive districts, connected to each other by several beautiful bridges. To the north of the Adour is Saint-Esprit, home to the city’s synagogue and the famous L'Atelier du Chocolat, where you can discover Bayonne’s chocolate heritage and sample some confections. South of the Adour, the Nive River further divides the city into two districts – the older Grand Bayonne, where you’ll find the cathedral and lots of shops, and the younger Petit Bayonne, characterised by narrow streets and houses with colourful shutters.
The hilltop St Marie Cathedral in Grand Bayonne is a masterful example of Gothic architecture. Dating back to the 13th century, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and features tall, twin spires and intricate stained-glass windows. The cathedral is especially noted for its adjoining cloister, one of the largest in France. A short walk away, you’ll come across Château-Vieux, an 11th-century castle used by the French military, which you can admire from the outside. From here, walk across Pont Marengo to Petit Bayonne, and you’ll find Musée Basque – a museum that outlines the history and culture of the region.