L’Auberge Basque is famous gastronomic restaurant and hotel 7 kilometres north of the coastal town of Saint Jean de Luz and 22 kilometres from Biarritz in France. If you are looking for a place to stay in and around Saint Jean de Luz, this is it.
Five years ago, Cédric Béchade, chef and owner of Auberge Basque, bought what was a traditional bed and breakfast inn constructed in the late 1600s, renovated it and turned it into a temple of fine cuisine and relaxation in the French Basque country. The decor is a blend of traditional and contemporary with a neutral colour scheme.
Each bedroom has a unique décor designed by Flamant Home Interiors. All rooms feature large, comfortable showers with the ecological “rain dance” system, flat screen TVs, king-sized beds and free Wi-Fi. Some rooms have a private terrace that overlook the mountains and the valley below. There is a spa with massage and beauty treatments that use products from the luxury Parisian brand, Cinq Mondes. Breakfasts at the Auberge Basque are another culinary extravaganza with delicious Basque cakes, fresh fruit juices, brioches, sheep’s milk yogurt and more.
The reason people come to Auberge Basque is for the restaurant, a bright airy space that looks out onto the garden and the hills beyond. Cédric Béchade creates light, healthy dishes of unusual flavour combinations using local products from the Basque Country such as Banka trout, bonito from Saint Jean de Luz, and Ibaïona ham. The kitchen pays special attention to the aesthetics of food, presenting the dishes with flair and creativity. Auberge Basque offers several tasting menus as well as a la carte dishes. Here are examples from the spring 2013 a la carte menu: calamari in its ink with leek and sesame, stewed dover sole with pine bark and yuzu aïoli, veal with green cabbage and wasabi-sour/sweet fruit, and pineapple in tiramisu with apple and juniper berries. The wine list is extensive and features wines from different regions ranging in price from 26 EUR to 136 EUR.
The Auberge Basque restaurant’s decor is simple and elegant: tables in light oak designed by Isabelle Juy (Flamant Home Interior); glass chandeliers by Flamant; matching dishes specially created by Céramiques Cazaux in Biarritz; Onatiss towels; Bernardaud china; wine glasses and decanters by Jean-Pierre Lagneau.
If you are going to Auberge Basque to eat and stay for the night, ask for a room with balcony facing the hills. I opted for one of the smallest rooms and it was tiny and did not have a view, but it was comfortable. Make sure you take the time to sit out on the chairs on the lawn outside the restaurant with marvelous views of the valley and hills just at sundown. I had a wonderful stay at Auberge Basque and would stay and eat there again if I come back to the Saint Jean de Luz area. It is such a peaceful hideaway, perfect for getting away from the stresses of life.
Check the opening days and times of the restaurant before you decide to go and make reservations.
D 307 vieille route de St Jean de Luz
64310 Helbarron / Saint-Pée – France
+33 (0)5 59 51 70 00