The first Bayonne festivals were put together in 1932 by a group of friends inspired by the Pamplona festivals. Ever since, the spirit of friendship reigns at this famous celebration and its legendary peñas. In Spanish, a peña is a group of friends.

The Bayonne festivals are one great communion. Things start off with a fair, a chili pepper omelette contest, the ‘foulée du festayre’, and a rowing regatta. After that, everyone is clothed and baptised. The participants are all festayres dressed in red and white. On the first day, the mayor symbolically gives them the keys to the city. The famous guests of honour throw them from the town hall’s balcony. There is one key for each neighbourhood: Grand Bayonne, Petit Bayonne, and Saint Esprit.

For 5 days, vehicles are banned from the city as it throws itself fully into the celebration. The musical awakening of King Léon on the town hall balcony and the parade of the giants entertain spectators of all ages. Thursday is devoted to children, and during the festivals an area is reserved for the fair and its rides. There are also canon parades, lighted floats, bandas, cow races, corridas, fireworks, pelota tournaments, concerts, and dances (with more than 1000 street musicians). On Sundays, the traditional banda mass is held at Saint André’s church. There really is something for everyone!