The major draw here is the gracefully curving stretch of the white-sand La Grande Plage St-Jean-de-Luz; it’s one of the best beaches in France and, consequently, very crowded in July and August. The beach lies in a half-moon-shaped bay between the ocean and the source of the Nivelle River. Lifeguards are on-duty daily in July and August from 11am to 7:30pm and until 7pm in June and September. You can also hire parasols and deck chairs. All of St-Jean-de-Luz's other beaches have lifeguards from 11am to 7pm in July and August only.
St-Jean-de-Luz is also a working port, where garishly painted fishing boats jut right up to the shopping streets. Eating seafood recently plucked from the sea is one of the reasons to visit, especially when Basque chefs transform the big catch into intriguing platters. This port’s many narrow streets flanked by old houses are great for strolling. For one of the best views, climb the Colline de Saint-Barbe, a large hill at one end of the waterfront. It has a walking path and lovely views over the city.