Biarritz, the ocean in full
A few kilometres from the Spanish border, this imperial sea resort blends a laid-back lifestyle with multiple sporting activities.
In the 19th century, Emperess Eugénie had made Biarritz her summer camp, living to the rhythm of the Atlantic Ocean, which shades of blue contrast with the golden sand of its six beaches. All year long, surfers look for the right wave, board under the arm, form the famous Basque coast.
"When you hesitate between two beaches,” Sacha Guitry wrote, “one of them is always Biarritz.” The world famous Grand Plage beach attracts surfers and sun worshippers from around the world.
Golfers flock to the region for its sublime courses, like the mythical Le Phare Golf Club in the very heart of the city. Nestled between sea and mountain, Biarritz offers views of the first slopes of the Pyrenees, dotted with villages of picturesque houses with red shutters. The unique landscape provides stunning excursions through hills and villages, on foot, by bike or on a “pottok" – the small horse of the Basque region. Local traditions and cultures are part of the charm of this "pays" that still speaks Basque, the lilting language that can be heard at rugby matches or pelota games. In the newly renovated Les Halles de Biarritz, foodies share tapas, pintxos and other delectables, such as the famous Gateau Basque cake. A few kilometres away is Guéthary, the perfect spot to sip a cocktail while taking in the sunset. The nightlife continues at the Spanish border, in Hondarribia and San Sebastian, the European Capital of Culture in 2016.