The Corniche is the beautiful rocky coastline between St Jean de Luz and Hendaye.
1 hour 30′
It is possible to walk all the way along the coastal path from St Jean de Luz to Hendaye but the eastern section runs close to the road so it is better to start walking half way along. As you come along the road from St Jean de Luz you will see a large building with a tidal pool. This was formerly a hotel called ‘Haizabia’ and is now a holiday centre for railway workers. It is opposite the entrance to ‘Pierre et Vacances’. There are a few places to park in front of the old hotel.
Turn right just before the building by a sign ‘Sentier du Littoral’. Note the yellow waymarks that will guide you today. Walk down to the coast and turn left and past the tidal pool and then up steps to the cliff top path.
10’ – Pass the ‘Maison de la Corniche Basque’ which has information about the geology and wildlife of the area. Soon after, you enter the Abbadie estate. Continue on the well-made path that undulates across open country with sea views, and through woodland. At a junction, turn right towards the sea and then left, following a sign to ‘Larretxea’
30’ – At another junction, turn right towards the sea. Look out for orchids and other wild flowers in the meadows. A number of paths lead off to the right. These take you to viewpoints on the cliff top, one of which has a WWII blockhouse with new age symbols, another has a blockhouse and a great view of the two offshore rocks known as the ‘Jumeaux’ (twins) as well as of Hendaye beach and Spain beyond. Head back inland towards the chateau.
55’ – At a junction walk up through meadows and then woods towards the chateau. The chateau was built by Antoine d’Abbadie, an extraordinary polymath and astronomer who wrote the first Basque grammar and also mapped parts of Ethiopia. The chateau is well worth a visit, though you need to access it from the main road.
60’ – Turn left at a junction, and at the end of a meadow go straight on, you are back on the path you came on.
1hr 30’ – Return to the start