In Saint-Jean-de-Luz, the “vibratory waves” of Carlos Lafitenia do not convince

A trendy bar

In Acotz, 5 kilometers from the center of Saint-Jean-de-Luz, the opening in July of a trendy restaurant-bar, Carlos Lafitenia, led to an outcry from part of the population. As a welcome, an informal citizen collective launched a petition, “No to Carlos Lafitenia”, which collected nearly 25,000 signatures. Its authors evoke arrangements that could harm the environment. The collective had planned to organize a protest picnic on August 12, but the owners of the bar referred four people from the movement for defamation, a procedure which resulted in conciliation. The collective had to cancel the picnic and the petition.

Far from the camping spirit

On its website, Carlos Lafitenia presents itself as “A place of life”, or “Vibratory waves (…) take everyone to a moment of calm ”. Supported by Charles and Alexandra Cuxac, owners of Carlos Biarritz, the place, which previously housed the La Playa campsite, offers deckchairs and a restaurant area. For 2022, the couple have planned to open “eco-lodges”. A new place at the antipodes of the surrounding establishments, “Especially family campsites”, explains Peio Etcheverry-Ainchart, elected opposition member in Saint-Jean-de-Luz, within the Herri Berri group (“New Town”) and signatory of the petition.

Wild pruning

The restaurant-bar is located in an area classified largely Natura 2000. Opponents accuse the managers, with supporting photos, of having cut down several trees. They also deplore the covering of the soil with sand, “Which promotes erosion”, considers one of the citizens opposed to the project, preferring to remain anonymous. Contacted, the manager, Charles Cuxac does not wish to react. Carlos Lafitenia’s website nevertheless explains that “Despite a necessary but measured pruning, the place remains a small Eden that no one can damage”. The town hall informs us that a report of violation of the town planning code has been drawn up, and sent to the public prosecutor of Bayonne. The investigation is ongoing.

Symbol of speculation

On social networks, some residents get angry: “The Basque Country is not for sale”, “we are not in Saint-Tropez here! “. “Behind this rather anecdotal project, it is the symbolism that it takes that worries”, Peio Etcheverry-Ainchart analysis. Because in recent years, many real estate projects have met with hostility from the locals. The elected representative evokes a Basque coast perceived as a “Goose that lays golden eggs” with a multiplication of projects which “Degrade the environment”, or even speculation around farmland gradually nibbled away by second homes. “It has become the Wild West, I have no other words”, he believes, bitter.