WJ Tested: Globus La France Motorcoach Tour – Biarritz and Lourdes

WJ Tested: Globus La France Motorcoach Tour – Biarritz and Lourdes

WJ Tested: Globus La France Motorcoach Tour – Biarritz and Lourdes

WJ Tested: Globus La France Motorcoach Tour – Biarritz and Lourdes

Day 8 – Biarritz

Being in France for Bastille Day, the largest public holiday of the year, meant that our tour needed to depart from the hotel in Bordeaux by 7:30 a.m. After driving for 2 hours we had a 30-minute comfort stop at a gas station along the highway.

Bastille Day Fun Facts:

  • Bastille Day is formally called La Fete Nationale and is France’s National Day celebrated on July 14th
  • It is a celebration of the storming of the Bastille on July 14th, 1789
  • The Bastille was a prison-fortress in Paris in which the kings and queens would lock up people who acted out against their decisions
  • The oldest and largest military parade in Europe takes place this day along the Champs-Elyesee avenue in Paris
  • Bastille Day celebrations are held in many other places around the world

We learned from Vic that due to Bastille Day (July 14 is France’s equivalent to USA 4thof July) commercial trucks could not be on the road, so all the service and gas station parking areas along the highway were jammed with rigs waiting until they could again hit the roads after midnight.

Biarritz

Biarritz

After another hour of highway driving we arrived at the beautiful beach town of Biarritz. As we walked towards the market Vic gave us a brief overview of what to do and see during our 90 minutes of free time. One suggestion was to try the fresh oysters at the market.

Biarritz Fish Market

Biarritz Fish Market

Biarritz Fun Facts:

  • Biarritz sits nestled in the Bay of Biscay on the Atlantic coast in southwestern France
  • Biarritz is in the Basque region of France, just 11 miles from the border with Spain
  • The town was transformed by Napoléon III and his wife, Empress Eugenie, during the mid-nineteenth century into a playground for royalty and the rich
  • It is hugely popular with the surfing community
  • Barriere Casino and the Bellevue Casino are on the waterfront by the main beach known as Grande Plage
  • The waters off Biarritz are thought to have therapeutic properties

    Biarritz Surfing

    Biarritz Surfing

We had time to wander the indoor market, walk down to the beach where a surfing competition was taking place, and then make our way back to the coach for our 12:30 p.m. departure. As we strolled back to the meeting area we enjoyed a military procession to commemorate Bastille Day celebrations.

Bastille Day Parade

Bastille Day Parade

To get to Lourdes (our final destination of the day) we had a 2-hour drive along the base of the Pyrenees and arrived at our hotel by 2:30 p.m. Vic handed out keys to our rooms at Hotel Gallia and Londres (a 4-star that has seen better days) and arranged to meet us again in an hour for a walking tour.

Hotel Gallia and Londres Guest Room

Hotel Gallia and Londres Guest Room

Hotel Gallia and Londres Guest Bathroom

Hotel Gallia and Londres Guest Bathroom

Vic took us on a 30-minute walking tour over to the Grotto and Cathedral, pointing out the highlights before leaving us to explore further on our own. With the holiday weekend in full swing, everywhere we went in Lourdes was packed with pilgrims and tourists.

Statue of Our Lady of Lourdes at the Grotto of Massabielle

Statue of Our Lady of Lourdes at the Grotto of Massabielle

Lourdes Fun Facts:

  • Lourdes is a town in the French Pyrenees where on February 11, 1858, Bernadette Soubirous saw the Blessed Virgin Mary
  • Hundreds of thousands people make pilgrimages here each year
  • The Virgin Mary appeared to the young girl, Bernadette, a total of 18 times at the Grotto
  • An international Mass is conducted in 6 languages every Sunday morning in the Underground Basilica of St. Pius X
  • There is a nightly candlelight procession in front of the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception and around the main square
  • There is a mind-boggling number of souvenir shops selling religious memorabilia

    Lourdes in France

    Lourdes in France

Dinner at the hotel started at 6:15 p.m. and a tasty 3-course set-menu started with zucchini soup, followed by a main course of beef with potato and carrots, and finally we enjoyed apricot tart for dessert. A glass of red or white wine was included. Following dinner, some of our fellow passengers walked over to the cathedral to take part in the candlelight procession.

Dinner in Lourdes - Main Course

Dinner in Lourdes – Main Course

Dinner in Lourdes - Dessert

Dinner in Lourdes – Dessert

At 10 p.m. there was a spectacular fireworks display from the castle in the mountains above Lourdes to commemorate Bastille Day – a great way to conclude France’s biggest holiday!

If You Go:

Read More About WAVEJourney’s Globus La France Adventures:
| Overview | Paris Day 1 | Paris City Tour Day 2 | Normandy Day 3 | Normandy and Brittany Day 4 | Loire Day 5Loire Valley and Bordeaux Day 6 | Saint Emilion Day 7 | Biarritz and Lourdes Day 8 | Carcassonne and Nimes Day 9 | Pont du Gard and Avignon Day 10 | Monte Carlo Day 11 | Grasse to Grenoble Day 12 | Lyon to Dijon Day 13 | Dijon to Paris Day 14 |

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