They all used to come here, from Coco Chanel and Ernst Hemingway to Frank Sinatra and the royals – Biarritz used to be the Monte Carlo of the Atlantic coast. But with time, the glamour faded. Thanks to windsurfing and other water sports, however, the charming city has rejuvenated. It is now the perfect destination for a relaxing weekend break, and there is no need to rush: the city is fairly small and you can easily see everything even on a short visit.
Shops in Biarritz are usually open from 9am to 12.30am. After a long lunch break, they stay open from 3pm to 7:30pm.
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 towards becoming a tourist destination, when the 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 kept 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. Biarritz is also a famous spot in the world of surfing. Surfers congregate at several beaches, from Biarritz all the way up to Hossegor. The Grand Plage is a classic beach while the Miramar Beach--an extension of the Grande Plage--is the most fashionable one among those of the entire Atlantic coast.
Biarritz is located in Basque territory, 18km from the Spanish border. The sunny location on the Bay of Biscay makes it perfect for surfing and this culture is deeply rooted in the city’s ambience. Several prestigious surf tournaments have been hosted by Biarritz. Other popular sports practised here are Basque pelota, golf and rugby.
Biarritz has a vibrant coffee culture and its beautiful surroundings provide the perfect backdrop for a relaxing cup of coffee. Just take your time to experience the most of it.