Trip Start Jun 10, 2007
111Trip End Ongoing
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Inside these walls we found a seemingly endless maze of narrow pedestrianized streets filled with centuries old buildings with half timbered facades and stunning wrought iron balconies. What stood out to us was that it felt like there was actually a community living here, not just a bunch of tourists. It was a pleasant surprise and it certainly added to the experience
After this well deserved break, we got into the important stuff, chocolate! Bayonne has a long established history with this ever so popular product. It actually goes back to the Spanish Inquisition, when Jews who fled Spain set up shop here to continue their trade. By 1870 there were about 130 chocolatiers in this small town, 11 of which remain today. It was this presence that solidified Bayonne's legendary status as the chocolate capital of France. It should be noted that Bayonne is also famous for its prime cured ham, (which accompanied the egg on my pizza and was very tasty), as well as being the birthplace of the bayonet – of course.
Back to chocolate. We hunted out most of the remaining chocolatiers and were quite impressed with their wares (having to sample some of course). We headed to L’Atelier du Chocolat (www.atelierduchocolat.fr for those that are bored) as they offer tours of their facility and of course a very generous chocolate tasting. It was fascinating to watch the professionals perform their art. The tour was comprised of a history of chocolate, an overview of the process from growing it to eating it, and even some of the old machinery used from over 100 years ago. It was a very educational experience and the tasting session was pretty sweet as well…
From there we headed back into Biarritz for a stroll along the water to watch the sunset. Tomorrow we head about a half an hour in the other direction to San Sebastian, Spain.