Check out our guide of the best museums in the Basque Country, captivating tours await youBasque and Bayonne History Museum This is an excellent place to find out all about Basque country culture, history and art. The museum boasts the largest ethnographic collection of the territory, as well as graphic art, painting, photography, furniture and typical objects. The museum hosts temporary exhibitions on a regular basis, exploring both past and present.
Bonnat-Helleu Museum The Bayonne Fine Arts Museum houses a remarkable collection, especially its graphic arts department showcasing Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Rubens, Rembrandt, Dürer, Goya, Degas, Ingres and Delacroix to name but a few. The painting section is also impressive, exhibiting Van Dyck, Rubens, El Greco and Ingres. Currently closed to the public for enlargement, the museum does open for one-off events such as the Long Night of Museums (May) and the European Heritage Days (September).
Bayonne Museum of Natural History At the heart of a delicate natural area, this museum is the oldest in the town. The collection is geared around three themes: the wetlands, flora and fauna on the Nive marshland and the biodiversity of the Pyrenees and the ocean.
Villa Arnaga, Edmond Rostand Museum The neo-Basque home of the famous author of Cyrano de Bergerac has been classified as a French Historic Monument. The interior décor is reminiscent of a theatre, with a collection of paintings and period furniture. Outdoors, there’s an orange grove, and gardens laid out in French and English styles. Many events take place there throughout the year, often with a literary theme.
Guéthary Museum The neo-Basque Saraleguinea Villa displays sculptures, ceramics and drawings donated by sculptor Georges Clément de Swiecinski, as well as Roman vestiges discovered along the Basque coast, manuscripts and original editions of works by poet and author Paul-Jean Toulet. The park showcases monumental sculptures and mosaics. From May to October, the museum hosts temporary exhibitions of contemporary art.
Biarritz Aquarium and the Cité de l’Océan The aquarium is housed in a majestic art deco building dating from 1933. You can combine it with a visit to the Cité de l’Océan, to become a quiz whizz on marine ecosystems and ocean tides. What with marine wildlife to be contemplated and interactive experiments, you’ll be fascinated!
You’re never very far from a venue celebrating contemporary artwork, proof of the territory’s artistic drive. What with galleries, artist’s workshops, national and even international exhibitions, you’re bound to discover something new! There are many events too, including the Biennale Internationale d’Anglet and the Bayonne street art circuit!