Fêtes de Bayonne

Next week will be held the Fêtes de Bayonne, a famous French summer event.

The Fêtes de Bayonne, Baionako Bestak in Basque, is a time of celebration in the city of Bayonne (Pyrénées-Atlantiques) that begins the Wednesday before the first weekend of August  ends the following Sunday. The official start used to be on the first Wednesday of August but the start has been advanced in recent years due to the growing number of visitors every year.

In 2004, these parties met between 1.3 and 1.5 million visitors, making these the most important holiday event in France. The rigor of dress is white, with a scarf and a red belt (cinta or faja). This outfit, not traditional in the region, actually comes from Navarra in Spain. The practice of Bayonne festive celebrations is listed on the UNESCO Inventory of the Intangible Cultural Heritage.



Celebrations of Bayonne (which was called at the time “major summer festivals”) took place for the first time in 1932 inspired by the festivals of Pamplona (San Fermin). The first Bayonne celebrations were officially declared open Wednesday, July 13, 1932. The idea came from a group of friends of the rugby section of the Aviron bayonnais that frequented Pamplona celebration and proposed to create those of Bayonne in the same spirit.

In 2008 a world record was beaten with a paquito chocolatero (see the photo below) with 7764 people for a length of 2588 meters.

The Fêtes de Bayonne spread in recent years on five days. The Basque and Gascon tradition is represented: pelota, music and dance; bullfights, bulls races (including a dummy for children), parades of floats, brass bands, concerts, balls, toro de fuego, fireworks enliven the festivities.


2016 Program

Here is the agenda of the opening day of the Fêtes:

20h-22h, opening ceremony of the holiday season with the concert of Harmony bayonnaise and the invited choir Aizkoa, on the Liberty Square.

22h-22h20, official opening of the holiday season with the arrival of King Leon, the launch key and Mascleta (musical fireworks), Liberty Square.

10:30 p.m. to 0:00, dancing spirit with Maialen, Republic Square.

22h30-3h, public ball with Arpège, Liberty Square.

22h30-3h, festive scene with Los Marinos and Dj Mix Live, place Paul-Bert

22h30-3h, public ball with Pick Up at the Halles tile.

Full program here (in French), have fun! 



Check out our tours in the region 


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