Here's a little riddle: My waves have made me a well-known surf spot. Napoleon III built a palace for his beloved Eugenie on me. Hues of pinks, blues, and whites, my hydrangea flowerbeds are the most beautiful in France. So, who am I?
In the heart of the Pays Basque (Basque Country) in France, just 25 km from the Spanish border (Hola España!), Biarritz is a welcoming beach town and the perfect playground for golf, pelota, and surfing enthusiasts. The best part? It's a place that you can live year round.
It's easy to become a naturalized Biarrot (like us) in an old fishing village full of history (like this). It’s impossible not to fall in love with its countryside, its urban area, and its 11 magnificent golf courses. Here's why: the open arms of the Basque people, the diversity of landscapes, the beautiful blue sea in the heart of the Pyrenees mountains, delicious cuisine, and its sporty and festive atmosphere.
La Grande Plage
In the heart of the city, the Grande Plage offers magnificent views of the Roche Percée. An incredible site, this great beach is situated between the Hotel du Palais (Napoleon III's gift to Eugenie) and the Place de Bellevue, and overlooked by stunning Belle Époque architecture. Mansions and superb villas hang to the hilly coast, treasures on the cliffs. Whether you're walking around the neighborhood, discovering the Casino, relaxing on the Terrasse Du Salon Eugénie at the beautiful Palais, or simply shopping on the commercial streets where luxury boutiques blend with trendy West Coast-inspired concept stores, you'll definitely enjoy your time.
Biarritz is the spot for you if …
- Your heart is torn between the city, sea, countryside, and mountains
- Your heart is also torn between a house in the city, a Landes farmhouse, and a typical Basque palace
- No more tears: Your better half has found a Basque house with a sea view on the Phare golf course in the city
Les Halles of Biarritz
There was a time in Biarritz when farmers went into town in horse-drawn carriages. Today, the charm of Les Halles has remained the same, making it a wonderful living environment. The surrounding streets are well suited for pedestrians. Houses are typically traditional: whitewashed, decked in exposed wooden frames in brown, green, gray or blue, and certain je ne sais quois inviting us to come in for a glass of lemonade.
You'll love taking long strolls and shopping in Les Halles. Not to mention how hard it is to resist all the regional specialties: Brebis cheese, Bayonne ham, and the famous gâteau Basque, a specialty cake. The sight of incredibly draping hydrangeas is the icing on the cake.
Still, a coffee-croissant duo, an aperitif alongside our tapas, and dinner at one of the neighborhood's many restaurants, a glass of sangria or a cepes omelet at Bar Jean, an institution dating back to the 1930s, are all necessary stops on the Biarittz food tour.
Hurry to Biarritz if ...
- You finally made the decision on the color of timber for your future house
- You're a fan of the "surfer look"
- Tortilla de patatas with the coffee in the morning, ham of Bayonne in the afternoon, and sangria in the evening
Surfing the wave
It comes as no surprise that Biarritz is nicknamed "the Queen of Beaches and the Beach of King." Dedicated to sharing the beauty with all, there are no private beaches (except in the south). Ilbarritz Beach caters to a few loungers at Le Blue Cargo, a cult favorite. Don't tell everyone, but you can enjoy lunch right next door at La Plancha, our favorite beach spot.
On the north side in Anglet, the Chambre d'Amour is an expansive wild beach, similar to all the beaches in the Landes region. This area is also full of magnificent Landes houses and neo-Basque residences.
Surfers meet in town on the Côte des Basques. They only gather during low tide, because when high tide comes around, there is no beach in sight. Tip: Keep an eye on your towel in between catching waves.
Head to Biarritz if ...
- You prefer the wild side of the Côte Basque to the Côte d'Azur
- The beach is not your thing, and prefer a manicured lawn with a club in hand
- You can finally order cassoulet as much as you want
Biarrot and proud!
In no time, you’ll become a connoisseur of fine linens, Basque dishes, and anything else to prove you are a Biarrot in the know: Those exquisite striped tablecloths by Basque designer Jean Vier will be yours; Espelette pepper will become a staple ingredient in all of your sauces; and the pastries at the Loubère shop will become your go-to sweets spot all year long.
Biarrots are stylish people, chic and casual. But during the Bayonne holidays in early August, dressing in red and white is a fashion-must. Another tip: Ladies, leave your high heels at homes. It's either flat sandals or cute sneakers. The pride of the Pay Basque is multi-generational. Young and old alike find themselves in bars and restaurants with one motto: It's always time to have a good time.
You'll like living in Biarritz if ...
- You are a true urbanite, but ...
- You like to dive, and ...
- You like long hikes in the mountains, and a good meal to go with it.
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