***Browse Hotels in Biarritz, France by comparative pricing
Biarritz is a town and commune which lies on the Bay of Biscay,
on the Atlantic coast, in southwestern France.
It is a luxurious seaside town and is popular with tourists and surfers.
Biarritz also boasts some of the best beaches in Europe and has won multiple
awards for their top class standards.
read full wikipedia reference about Biarritz, France
A few minutes by rail or road from Bayonne, BIARRITZ was, until forty years ago, the Monte Carlo of the
Atlantic coast, transformed by Napoléon III in the mid-nineteenth century into a playground for monarchs,
aristos and glitterati. With the rise of the Côte d'Azur during the 1960s, however, the place went into
seemingly terminal decline. It is only during the last decade that the city has been rediscovered by
Parisian yuppies and the international surfing fraternity, who together fuel a respectable nightlife.
The focus of Biarritz is the Casino Municipal , just behind the Grande Plage, now restored to its 1930s
grandeur. Inland, the town forms a surprisingly amorphous and workaday sprawl, with the sole point of
interest the Musée d'Art Oriental , 1 rue Guy-Petit (Tues 10.30am-7pm, Wed-Fri 10.30am-1pm &
2.30-7/8pm, Sat 10.30am-1pm & 2.30-10/11pm, Sun 2.30-7/8pm), exhibiting the collection of Indian
and Tibetan art specialist Michel Postel.
Between here and the Plage du Port-Vieux are the only streets and squares conducive to relaxed strolling.
At the far west end of place Clemenceau , one of several central squares, you can nibble a cake or sip a
lemon tea at Miremont's Salon de Thé - a frightfully superior place epitomizing old-money Biarritz.
To the west, the faded old-time hotels ringing the place Attalaye , high above the port, are worth a glance
for their elegant facades, as is the characterful if touristy rue du Port-Vieux just below, leading down to its
namesake beach .
The shore , however, is undeniably beautiful. White breakers crash on sandy strands, where beautiful
people bronze their limbs cheek by jowl with suburban families and surf bums, against a backdrop of
casinos and ocean-liner hotels, ornate churches, Gothic follies and modern apartment blocks.
The beaches - served by buses #4 and #9 from Biarritz centre - extend northwards from
Plage de la Milady through Plage Marbella, Côte des Basques, Plage du Port-Vieux, Grande Plage
and Plage Miramar to the Pointe St-Martin. Most of the action takes place between the Plage du
Port-Vieux and the Plage Miramar, overlooked by the huge Hôtel du Palais (formerly the Villa Eugénie),
built by Napoléon III in the mid-nineteenth century for his wife, whom he met and courted in Biarritz.
Just beside the Plage du Port-Vieux , the most sheltered and intimate of the beaches, a rocky promontory
sticks out into the sea, ending in the Rocher de la Vierge , an offshore rock topped by a white statue of
the Virgin, and linked to the mainland by an Eiffel-built iron catwalk. Around it are scattered other rocky
islets where the swell heaves and combs. On the bluff above the Virgin stands the Musée de la Mer
(daily: July & Aug 9.30am-midnight; rest of year 9.30am-12.30pm & 2-6pm), which contains interesting
displays on the fishing industry and the region's birds, and an aquarium of North Atlantic fish.
Just below is the picturesque harbour of the Port des Pêcheurs , most easily approached by a switchback
pedestrian lane. The fishermen have now gone, replaced by pleasure boats, but there's a scuba outfitter
here and a clutch of pricey seafood restaurants. To the northeast lies the Grande Plage , an immaculate
sweep of sand originally dubbed the "Plage des Fous" after the 1850s practice of taking mental patients
to bathe here as a primitive form of thalassotherapy.
OTHER POPULAR DESTINATIONS IN FRANCE