Bayonne serves as the capital of the French Basque country and stands as the largest city in the region, boasting a population of 50,000 residents. While not classified as a small town by Basque standards, its relatively compact and cozy center makes it an ideal destination for tourists. If you’re seeking accommodations in Bayonne, this article offers a comprehensive guide to the best neighborhoods and hotels/accommodations available in each.

Before we start here are a few other articles you might like if you’re planning a trip to the Basque country: Beautiful villages in the French Basques, Weekend in Biarritz, All the best things to do and eat in Biarritz.

Where to stay in Bayonne, let’s go!

Le Grand Bayonne  – the most historic and central district

Nestled along the banks of the Adour and the Nive rivers, the Grand Bayonne neighborhood in Bayonne exudes an irresistible charm steeped in history and culture. Its labyrinthine streets are adorned with colorful half-timbered wood buildings, quaint cafes, and artisanal shops, inviting visitors to wander and explore at leisure. 

Grand Bayonne is the most ancient neighborhood of Bayonne and as such it harbors most of the monuments in the city. Among them, you’ll find the beautiful building of the city hall and the theatre, le Château Vieux, and the majestic Cathedral of Sainte-Marie, a stunning Gothic masterpiece dating back to the 13th century.

The vibrant streets of Le Grand Bayonne district
Le Grand Bayonne – by Lost in Bordeaux

Grand Bayonne’s vibrant atmosphere is further enriched by its bustling market and the gastronomic richness of cheese, chocolate, and ham shops. At lunch time locals gather here to sample fresh produce and regional delicacies. With its picturesque scenery and rich heritage, Grand Bayonne offers a captivating glimpse into the soul of this enchanting Basque city.

If you’re looking to stay in the most central part of Bayonne, Le Grand Bayonne is the place. Here are a few recommended hotels in Le Grand Bayonne.

Hôtel & Restaurant Des Basses Pyrénées a 4-star hotel located in the heart of Bayonne, a few minutes walk from the Cathedral. Housed within a beautifully restored building, the hotel exudes a timeless elegance, blending traditional architecture with modern comforts. The hotel features one of the best restaurants in Bayonne, called le Restaurant des Basses Pyrénées. 
Book your stay here

Hôtel & Restaurant Des Basses Pyrénées  in Bayonne
Hôtel & Restaurant Des Basses Pyrénées – by Lost in Bordeaux

Libertitu – charming apartment and rooms in Bayonne, located within a 3-minute walk from the heart of the historic center of Bayonne. You can choose between a double and triple room and a big apartment for 9 people. The place also offers free parking. Book your stay here

Hôtel Le BayonneThis 4-star hotel is located slightly out of the historic center, but within a few minutes walk to the Quai Amiral Jaureguiberry with all its terrasse restaurants. This is a great option for families as the hotel has bigger rooms and features an outdoor pool.
Book your stay here

Other good hotels in Le Grand Bayonne are: Le Grand Hotel (Mercure), Hotel Le Port Neuf and Miradour City Break.

Le Petit Bayonne – the young and cool part of Bayonne 

Cross the Nive River to the other side and you’ll find yourself in Le Petit Bayonne, one of the most popular districts in Bayonne. The small neighborhood is positioned at the confluence of the Adounr and Nive rivers, positioning it in a prime location. In Just a few minutes walk you can get to the main market in Le Grande Bayonne or the train station in the Saint Esprit neighborhood. 

Its narrow cobblestone streets are lined with colorful Basque-style houses adorned with traditional timber frames, creating a picturesque backdrop for exploration. This vibrant district is renowned for its lively atmosphere and eclectic mix of cafes, bars, and boutiques. Along the riverfront of the Nive, looking over the Grand Bayonne, you’ll discover a string of restaurants and tapas bars, where locals and tourists love to sit on sunny days. 

Where to stay in Bayonne - le Petit Bayonne district
Le Petit Bayonne district – by Lost in Bordeaux

The university is also located here, as well as the Basque Museum and the Bonnat Museum (currently undergoing renovation). In general, Le Petit Bayonne is the more arty, vibrant, and youthful part of town and I would even call it the hipster side of Bayonne. 

Here are a few recommended hotels in Le Petit Bayonne.

Hôtel Villa KOEGUI – one of the best hotels in Bayonne is located here in le Petit Bayonne. Hôtel Villa Koegui is an elegant 4-star hotel featuring a sauna, a small gym, and a gastronomic restaurant. 
Book your stay here.

Hôtel Villa KOEGUI - one of the best hotels in Bayonne
Hôtel Villa KOEGUI in Bayonne – by Lost in Bordeaux

Basque villaIf you traveling with a big family or a group of friends you can enjoy this beautiful Basque villa that is located a few minutes walk from the center of Le Petit Bayonne. The villa offers four big rooms and a cute garden where you can have a BBQ in the evenings.
Book the villa here.

Villa la Renaissance – If you don’t mind walking about 20 minutes to get to the center, this stunning hotel is a great option. The rooms of the hotels are beautifully decorated and you have a pool for the hot summer days in Bayonne.
Book your stay at Villa la Renaissance here.

Saint Esprit 

Saint Esprit is a historic neighborhood situated on the north banks of the Adour River and where the Bayonne train station is located. Saint Esprit is connected to the historic center (Le Petit Bayonne and Le Grand Bayonne) by the eponymous bridge. This is where most of the more affordable hotels are situated so it’s a great option if you’re on a budget. 

Steeped in centuries of rich heritage, Saint Esprit boasts a fascinating tapestry of cultural influences, from its origins as a medieval village to its vibrant present-day community. Founded in the 12th century, this village was once an autonomous municipality called Saint-Esprit-lès-Bayonne, attached to the Dax district in the Landes region. Initially inhabited by monks of the Hospitaller Order of the Holy Spirit, hence the neighborhood’s name. It also became home to Sephardic Jews fleeing the Spanish and Portuguese Inquisitions in the late 15th and 16th centuries. It wasn’t until the 19th century that Saint Esprit became a part of Bayonne. 

In this district, we can find several important historic monuments like the Citadel of Vauban and the synagogue (although neither one of them can be visited). But the neighborhood is mostly interesting for its artistic side. Here you can find some of the best street art in Bayonne, as well as DIDAM, the cultural center dedicated to photography. Just next to DIDAM, don’t miss the independent Cinéma L’Atalante with its cute café.

Saint Esprit district in Bayonne
Saint Esprit district in Bayonne – by Lost in Bordeaux

Saint Esprit is a relatively big district but I suggest that you stay closer to the river, around the Saint Esprit bridge.
Here are a few recommended hotels in the Saint Esprit district.

Péniche DJEBELLE – the most special option on this list, sleeping on a traditional boat. There are two deluxe rooms on this boat, that come with private bathrooms. In the morning you can have a fabulous breakfast on the terrasse. 

Book your stay here.

ibis Styles – Ibis is located just next to the Saint Esprit Bridge in a stunning building with a view of the Adour River.  The hotel has 45 rooms in different sizes, making it a great option for single travelers, couples, and families.
Book your room here.

Here are all my other Basques country-related articles to help you plan your trips:
Most beautiful villages in the French Basque country
Weekend in Biarritz
All the best things to do and eat in Biarritz
What to do in Espelette
A family trip to the French Basque country

You can also get plenty of tips on things to do in the Southwest of France via lost in Bordeaux’s social media accounts and email list, check them out here:

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*Note – Some of the links in this article include affiliate links for which I earn a small commission. It adds absolutely nothing to your cost and helps me continue writing about this amazing region. Don’t worry, I’m not getting rich here, I’ll never recommend anything I don’t believe in 🙂 

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