They all used to come here, from Napoleon III to Frank Sinatra – Biarritz used to be the Monte Carlo of the Atlantic coast but with the time, the glamour faded. Thanks to windsurfing and other water sports, however, the city has rejuvenated. It now is the perfect destination for a relaxing weekend break, completed by some of the best food around.
And there is no need to rush: the city is fairly small and you can easily see everything around, even during a short visit. One thing worth to set aside time for is the morning market in Les Halles: try the city’s own mamia, fresh curd sheep’s milk.
In medieval times and up to the 17th century, Biarritz was an unassuming fishing and whaling community. Spotters would perch on the Atalye plateau above the village and use smoke signals to tell the villagers when whales were nearby.
In the 18th century, Biarritz took its first steps toward becoming a tourist destination, when Comtesse de Montijo spent two lazy family holidays here. During the following century, the town’s popularity grew, as kings and queens of nations and the silver screen started and kept up visiting. Bette Davis, Frank Sinatra and Rita Hayworth also came here to explore the Monte Carlo of the Atlantic.
Today, the city is primarily a tourist destination but it still manages to maintain its character and steer clear of tackiness. This is mainly because most visitors come from nearby Spain and the rest of France.
Biarritz is also a famous spot in the world of surfing. Grand Plage and Place du Port Vieux is where surf shops such as O’Neill and Quiksilver are located: Grand Plage is a classic beach and Miramar Beach the most fashionable among those of the entire Atlantic coast. Surfers congregate at several beaches, from Biarritz all the way up to Hossegor.Read More