San Sébastien is close to the French border at Hendaye and it was only a short ride along the cycleway to enter France unchallenged. Almost immediately, we came across a sign for Eurovelo 1, the Atlantic coast cycle route that runs from Portugal to Norway. We planned to follow this route part of the way, so somewhere southwest of Bordeaux. An immediate change was that facemasks were no longer compulsory in shops in France, and only perhaps one in ten people were wearing them. The regulations in Spain were still in force but scheduled to be relaxed from April 20th.
It continued to be cold, just a few degrees C, but the sun was shining so we got our heads down to do battle with the north-easterly wind – at least this section of the ride was pretty flat most of the way to Bayonne.
The coastal scenery was stunning as we pedalled through Hendaye and on via Saint-Jean-de-Luz towards Biarritz. Most of the route was on traffic-free cycle paths or quiet roads. The tourist season hadn’t started.
The view from the bench where we stopped for lunch – yet another baguette!
Bayonne is an industrial town, in stark contrast to the architectural elegance of Biarritz, and we followed the railway line to the north of the city in search of somewhere to stay. Booking.com couldn’t come up with anywhere suitable in Ondres so we ended up going a few miles back on ourselves to Tarnos, just north of Bayonne, and checked into a modest, modern two-star hotel. It was fine except that the only choice of restaurants within walking distance was Macdonald’s or Buffalo Wings. We settled for the latter as the lesser of two evils. It was fine, but not the French cuisine for which we’d hoped. That was yet to come but we’d covered just under 60 miles, and our hunger and thirst were satisfied.