This 19th century neo-gothic chateau is located in Hendaye, in the French Basque Country. It is only 4 km from the Spanish border and it is very well located facing the sea with views over the French coast, the Spanish coast and the Pyrenees. The view over Larrhune mountain that rises imposingly towards the sky is outstanding. The estate on which the chateau is located is very well kept and maintains for grazing animals such as sheep and horses. The entire estate is located within the natural park of the corniche and today is a public domain property belonging to the municipality of Hendaye.














Antoine Abbadie

The history of the Chateau Abbadie is very curious, as is its architecture in facade and interior design. Antoine d’Abadie was a geographer, ethnologist and man of science in the 19th century who commissioned this work to the architect Viollet Le Duc in 1864. Antoine d’Abadie was a passionate scientist and explorer, he was the first to map Ethiopia where he stayed for 11 years. He was also interested in astrology, celestial cartography and the sources of the Nile. In 1892 he became president of the French Academy of Sciences. The interior of the palace houses an astronomical observatory that functioned until 1979 and has mapped up to half million stars, at his death Antoine Abbadia donated his castle to the Academy of Sciences. He was also a scholar and patron of the Basque language since his father was Basque and went down in history as “euskaldunen aita” the basque father.
















It is an observatory castle in Gothic style, comprises three parts: the library, the observatory and the chapel. The building is out of the ordinary, its facades are decorated with wild animals such as elephants, snakes, crocodiles and other exotic animals that Antoine discovered in his travels. It is a medieval building that combines oriental and arabic architectural details.

It is definitely a place worth visiting. The truth is that it is a pleasure to walk through its gardens facing the sea and admire the wonderful figures that decorate the building.


Elkano from Getaria is the most universal Basque sailor

This is the story of the Spanish expedition that in 1519 left Seville for the Spice Islands in the Moluccas. The difficulty of the voyage is that they would reach their destination sailing westward, since Portugal controlled navigation in Africa and the Indian Ocean. It was an expedition led by Magellan and composed of 5 ships and 235 men. The crew was composed of men of all nationalities: Portuguese, French, English, Germans, Greeks… among them was the experienced Basque sailor Juan Sebastian Elkano. Elkano would take command of the expedition after Magellan’s death in the Philippine islands at the hands of the natives. Elkano’s decision to return to Spain through the west and not to retrace his steps was what made them complete the first round-the-world voyage. In 1522 only 18 men and one ship, La Nao Victoria, arrived in Seville, commanded by the Basque sailor Juan Sebastian Elkano. The first round-the-world sailing had been completed, the first round-the-world voyage that happened to be round. This fact today is comparable to the first trip to the moon and was a revolution in all aspects.




The expedition departs from San Lucar de Brrameda near Seville on September 20.
On September 26th they reach Tenerife in the Canary Islands. On October 3rd they continue their voyage to Cape Verde and Sierra Leone, starting from there the crossing of the Atlantic Ocean. On November 29th they reach the coast of Brazil and stop in Santa Lucia, what is now Rio de Janeiro.


On January 12 they reach the estuary of La Plata but it is not the passage they are looking for, but the longed-for passage to the Pacific Ocean.
March 31 arrival at Puerto San Julian, south of Patagonia; Magellan decides to spend the winter there.
May 3 The Nao Santiago sinks while exploring a river.
October 21 they find the entrance to the strait and begin their voyage. A few days later the Nao San Antonio abandons the expedition and arrives in Seville in May 1521.
November 28th they manage to leave the strait with the fleet reduced to 3 ships and begin the navigation through the Pacific Ocean. It will be 3 months of suffering, hunger, thirst and diseases.


March 6 they reach the Mariana Islands and are able to make landfall.
March 16 arrives at the Philippine Islands, Magellan tries to Christianize the locals, thus breaking the agreements with the king.
April 7 arrival at Cebu. Magellan gets involved in local fighting and dies along with several men in a battle on April 27. Other violent episodes will follow in Cebu.
July 8, arrival in Borneo from where they leave on July 29. Still searching for the Moluccas with only 2 ships on this uncertain route, on September 16, 1521 Elkano is elected captain of the Nao Victoria.
November 8: two years and two months after leaving Seville they reach the Moluccas, the original destination of the expedition.
December 21: the nao Trinidad must stay in Tidore for repairs. Elkano begins the return voyage, but by the western route, which he considers more efficient. The first round-the-world voyage is therefore a consequence of Elkano’s decision.


January 25 stopover in Timor, from where they start on February 11 a solo crossing of the Indian Ocean, without stopovers, which will last several months.
May 19 they pass the Cape of Good Hope after a month and a half of efforts to reach it.


July 9, they call at the Cape Verde Islands after 5 months without touching land. They are Portuguese islands so do not say they come from the Spice Islands. They are discovered and some crew members are captured, the rest manage to flee to Spain.
On September 6th they arrive in Sanlucar de Barrameda and in Seville on September 8th, 3 years after their departure. Only one ship and 18 men remain of the 235 that left Seville. Four of those men are Basques: Juan Sebastian Elkano from Guetaria, captain of the Nao Victoria. Juan Acurio, from Bermeo. Juan Arratia from Bilbao. Juan Zubileta from Barakaldo.

Simple way to cook fresh fish in the Basque Country.

It is possible to cook the fish in a charcoal barbacue or in the oven. Both ways is necessary a strong heat.

Drizzle sun flower oil all over the fish. Do the same with the sea salt and if you want add a little bit of white pepper inside the fish.

This recepie can be used with different fish such as; monkfish, turbot, sea bream, long-finned tuna and pargos.

At the Cantabric sea we have a big variety of fish and is hard to choose one as a favourite. Some of them are seasonal so that is the best time to eat it. The summer is the time for the sardins, anchovies and tunas. The fall and the winter is the time for turbot, seabass, monkfish and seafood in general.

Depending on how big is the fish you will calculate the timing. It is about 10 minutes per kg and 200º celsius.  If the fish is in the charcoal fire should be 10 minutes per kilo and per each side. At the end of the process the skin should be toasted.

Once the fish is well cooked you have to remove the bones and the head. Put all the fish loins in a plate.

The seasoning. Put some garlic and cayenne in a pan with sun flower oil. Don´t burn the garlics! When the garlic turns into a yellow colour they are ready.  It is time to pour all over the loins. In the same pan put some white vinegar and when is boilig poor al over the fish. At the end add some fresh parsley.

It is a simple repie to cook fish. The most important is to use fresh fish and strong heat.

You have to try it at home!


The French Basque coast

Saint Jean du Luz

What during the XVII century was the base of the Basque corsairs, has become a relaxed tourist destination of summer. San Juan du Luz is situated in a quiet half-moon-shaped bay with a beautiful sandy beach. It also boasts a historic centre full of colourful Basque houses with wooden latticework. It is the ideal place for families or couples in search of calm under the sun while enjoying the magic of a bygone era.

Although St. Jean du Luz is only 20 minutes from Biarritz and both are famous summer resorts, the atmosphere in St. Jean du Luz is completely different from that of Biarritz, somewhat more relaxed. It’s a busy place, but not crowded, nice but not too luxurious. The old town is made up of beautiful Basque style houses. Many of the buildings date back to the 17th century, when St. Jean de Luz was one of the most important fishing ports in France.

The 17th century was also a time of transition in San Juan de Luz, when the main economic activity shifted from fishing to what was essentially piracy, as the town became the base for Basque corsairs. These corsairs pursued the enemies of France at sea, looting them with the blessing of the king. The corsairs were feared by the English and the Spaniards, who were the involuntary donors of the wealth that reached the small St. John of Light. That was the golden age of the locality and the fortune of that era can still be appreciated today by strolling through its streets.

It was also during the 17th century that the Treaty of the Pyrenees was signed on the nearby Isle of Pheasants, ending a long conflict between France and Spain. As a result of this treaty, King Louis XIV of France married the daughter of the King of Spain, Infanta Maria Teresa, in St. Jean du Luz in June 1660. This royal marriage was one of the most important political marriages in history. The fact that the wedding took place in San Juan de Luz is something that the local people are still proud of today.