Bayonne would not be Bayonne without the famous Bayonne festival (les fêtes de Bayonne in French). The festival opens in ceremony at 10pm on a Wednesday night and has done since 1932. From then for 5 days until Sunday the whole town wears white with a red scarf and enjoys the contagious party atmosphere.
At midday every day when the King of the festival, King Léon wakens, festivities start and continue throughout the day with Bandas (traditional bands), floral processions, floats and parades of giant papier-maché figures and floats, bull-runs on Place St André, Pelota tournaments in the Trinquet Moderne...everyone, everywhere is in a festive spirit and wearing white and red! Thursday is children's day with a vast picnic lunch, clown displays and games. As night falls a festive euphoria takes hold of people of all origins, cultures and languages in the crowded bars, restaurants and stalls lining the River Nive. Peñas are associations of Bayonne festival participants on whose premises members and friends gather. Cheerful bustling festayres (revellers) swarm from one peña to the the next all through the night.