Bayonne owes its significant architectural heritage to its rich history. The port at the confluence of the Nive and Adour rivers and its close proximity to Spain continue to shape its future. The town's long history of defiance is reflected in its motto: Nunquam Polluta (never defiled). Its military and commercial development has been well established over the centuries and is visible on the buildings and beautiful town houses it is reputed for. Bayonne also gave its name to the bayonet, a local 17th century invention.
Bayonne has strong policies on heritage and culture and obtained France's official « Town of Art & History » status in 2012, in recognition of 2,000 years of history and rich heritage.
Bayonne takes you on a journey through the ages from the Gothic cathedral – a World Heritage Site since 1998 as part of the French Pilgrim Routes of Santiago de Compostela, to the old town restoration project, the ramparts, the cloister and the Château-Vieux.
Founded in 1922, the Basque Museum immerses you in the mystery of the Basque people and is unique in France.
The Bonnat- Helleu Museum - currently closed for renovation - is a must for art lovers and houses an important collection of paintings.