One of the most famous and attractive beaches in France is Biarritz beach, on the Atlantic, just 32 kilometers from the border with Spain. Surely you know her and if you live in Spain you may have gone on vacation.
Well it's a luxury beachThe sea is beautiful, but it is not just about the sea and sand, because over time the surroundings have gained importance and today the beach and the city make up an unparalleled tourist spot.
It is a city in the Bay of Bizcaya, on the Atlantic coast in the Pyrenees area, southwest of France. It began to develop in the Middle Ages, partly from the hand of whaling activity, hence this mammal appears on its coat of arms.
Biarritz It was a whaling port town from the XNUMXth to the XNUMXth centuryBut the following century began to speak of the healing properties of sea air and the fortunes of the city changed forever.
During the XIX century primitive tourism begins, hand in hand with the nascent bourgeois industrial class and the nobles, and many of them came here seeking to cure their ailments. Some say that fame was definitively given by Victor Hugo around 1843, by naming it in one of his works.
Biarritz then began to invest in its appearance and many flowers and trees were planted on its sandy hills, defensive construction by stairways and piers was abandoned and in the mid-XNUMXth century Empress Eugenie, wife of Napoleon III, built her own palace, opening the doors to visits from the royalty of Europe. Then came the casino and wealthy Americans, but that would be in the XNUMXth century.
Nowadays wellness tourism is usually joined by more active tourism, sports, and thus Biarritz is super popular. The beach is six kilometers long and it can then be spoken of seven beaches, more than just one.
In principle, we must talk about the Playa Grande de Biarritz, with 450 meters of sand and great for surfing. On the boardwalk that runs the entire length of the beach there are fish and seafood restaurants, swimming pool, casino and spas. In truth there are many spa centers that offer mud therapy, sea water and more.
This beach is also known as Empress Beach because right here Empress Eugenia built her palace, eventually turned into a hotel, the Hôtel de Palais. Right here is where times later surfing was born in Europe.
It was 1956 when screenwriter Peter Viertel came to film his movie The sun also rises, based on the famous novel by Hemminway. Producer Zanuck came with him and that's where it all started because Zanuck was a surf lover.
A year later, with some friends, he founded the first european surf club, Waikiki Surf Club. And since then this beach and the Basque coast have been the venues of many surfing championships and competitions. Obviously, even today there are surf schools in case you don't know and want to start.
La Milady is another beach, large, very popular between young people and locals. You can walk along its boardwalk and enjoy the views, great, and it also has an area dedicated to children. Also this beach has been adapted for people with motor disabilities. Of course, at high tide it is very dangerous. Parking is free, there are surf schools and cafes.
The Côte des Basques is very surfer and take advantage of its characteristics (it is surrounded by cliffs and you can see the spanish coast and its mountains). At high tide swimming is prohibited and there is almost no beach. You can park your car at the top of the cliff and from there go down on foot or in a free minibus, in the summer season. At this time there is also security until 6, 7:30 in the afternoon.
Port Vieux is a small and quiet beach which is on a rocky cove protected from the winds and waves. It is close to the city center and that's why it is ideal for families with little ones. The water is usually calm and good for swimming. It is accessed through the Canon Rock and the Boucalot Rock, although it is through the latter that you can pass with boats and jet skis. You cannot go underwater fishing more than 150 meters from the coast.
On the street there is a free parking area in winter, paid in summer. Nearby is an underground parking lot, too. There is a free minibus from the center which leaves you here, running between 10 am and 7 pm, coffee shops, a couple of dive clubs, and three swim clubs. But beware, it is a beach where smoking is not allowed: Plage sans tabac.
Miramar Beach is popular with residents because it is a lovely and quiet beach. Most people come for a walk, although you can also go surfing and bodyboarding. Nearby there is an underground parking lot, in case a car arrives.
The Marbella It is another beautiful beach, the extension of the Côte des Basque. It is highly appreciated among surfers, although people who have a motor disability have it complicated because there are rocks and steps. You can get there by bus, there is security in summer, it has surf schools and equipment rental shops and a restaurant / cafeteria.
What else to do in Biarritz
Beyond the beaches, one can do more. For example, if we go with children in addition to hotels with activities for them, there is the Maritime Museum with more than 150 marine species for them to know, in their Aquarius.
In Biarritz there are architectural treasures that include the Church of St. Martin from the XNUMXth century or the Russian Orthodox Church. a walk along the boardwalk It is a must, to see the beautiful Hôtel du Palais, former palace, or the beautiful Place Ste Eugenie.
You can also take a gastronomic walk through the Halle Market or Les Halles Market, to try everything or buy regional products: cheeses, the typical piperade, Montagne honey ... It is also a good place to try fish and seafood with chips, in any of its restaurants, although many of them are expensive, or a skewer or pintxo, on the busy Rue des Halles.
And the better views They are given by the boardwalk, the lighthouse with its terrace, from which you can later walk to the Côte des Basques, or the restaurant Surfing him offering, with each sunset, the best place to enjoy the postcard with a glass of French wine in hand.
When it comes to making a little outing, you can visit the nearby resorts of Saint Jean De Luz and Cibourne, with charming buildings, a fishing port, a river and lots of color. The typically Basque architecture of Cibourne is charming and the same can be said for Saint Jean De Luz beach, if you want to escape the mega tourism of Biarritz.