French biologist, writer and academic Jean Rostand died 40 years ago. A tribute day is being at his birthplace, Villa Arnaga in Combo-les-Bains, on 21st September 2017. If you are holidaying in the French Basque Country, then join the celebrations in tribute to Jean Rostand, and visit the exhibition which is currently running.
Who was Jean Rostand?
His father, the author and playwright Edmond Rostand, was well known in France – he wrote Cyrano de Bergerac, along with a host of other novels, plays and comedies. Jean Rostand was also a writer, though he turned his attentions to biology and published many works in this field to great acclaim. In 1936, he set up his own laboratory, focusing his research on the origin of life. Through his work and his publications, Jean Rostand strove to unveil the mystery of biology and make it easy for the masses to understand. Jean Rostand was a feminist and a pacifist, a free-thinker and a humanist, and was granted admission to the illustrious Académie Française in 1959.
An exhibition in tribute to Edmond Rostand
Head to Villa Arnaga in the small town of Cambo-les-Bains, tucked away in the most south-westerly corner of France to visit the exhibition that pays tribute to Jean Rostand. Why here? Quite simply because this is where he was born. His father, Edmond Rostand, fell in love with the town while convalescing there, and decided to build the villa where Jean Rostand would spend his childhood. Villa Arnaga is now one of the best museums in the Basque region. Also known as the Edmond Rostand museum, the property runs various exhibitions all year round and features beautifully landscaped gardens.
The exhibition in tribute to Jean Rostand is the perfect opportunity to learn more about this man who threw himself into biology and nature to escape the oppression that his father’s fame thrust upon him during childhood. Jean Rostand’s work is also displayed, in particular his deep interest in biology and his research on freezing sperm which brought him international acclaim. Scientists will be on hand at the special event organised as a tribute to Jean Rostand on 21st September, although the exhibition itself is open every day this year.
More things to do in the French Basque Country
While holidaying in a luxury villa in the Basque region, the tribute to Jean Rostand is a great place to start, but there’s lots more to see and do nearby. Cambo-les-Bains is just a few minutes’ down the road from Espelette, a traditional local village famous for its pepper. Saint-Martin-d’Arberoue is another neighbouring town, where you can visit the Isturitz and Oxocelhaya natural caves and prehistoric dwellings. 10 km east of Cambo-les-Bains is Hasparren, a beautiful village where old buildings and traditional Basque architecture create a truly authentic ambience.