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Overview

First impressions of beautiful Belle-Époque Biarritz are of a beachside city with a serious split personality. Back in the 1920s, Biarritz was the holiday resort of choice with European and Hollywood royalty. Today it can still be as snooty as a pampered poodle (and yeah, there are plenty of elderly ladies with super coiffured hair tottering about), but it’s also as sultry as a steamy summer night and young and cool in the way only a surfing obsessed city can be.

Dig below the surface though and you’ll find that Biarritz has plenty more to recommend it. There’s a couple of quality museums, including one of the finest ...

First impressions of beautiful Belle-Époque Biarritz are of a beachside city with a serious split personality. Back in the 1920s, Biarritz was the holiday resort of choice with European and Hollywood royalty. Today it can still be as snooty as a pampered poodle (and yeah, there are plenty of elderly ladies with super coiffured hair tottering about), but it’s also as sultry as a steamy summer night and young and cool in the way only a surfing obsessed city can be.

Dig below the surface though and you’ll find that Biarritz has plenty more to recommend it. There’s a couple of quality museums, including one of the finest Asian art museums in France, as well as one dedicated solely to chocolate (now that would make Willy Wonka smile!). There’s the vibrant and unique Basque culture, some of the finest food in France as well as stunning hiking in the surrounding foothills of the Pyrenees. Meanwhile, in nearby Bayonne (which has virtually merged with Biarritz), the traveler will find one of the most attractive old quarters in France. But the thing that’s really bringing Biarritz back as one of the European seaside resorts of choice is the young and cool side of its split personality – the stunning spread of beaches and world class surfing.

Stuart Butler
About the Expert

Based in the French Basque Country, Stuart Butler writes guidebooks for Lonely Planet and Bradt on France, Spain, Norway and large parts of Africa and South Asia. He also works with numerous international surf magazines exploring the remoter coastlines of the world.

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Stuart Butler for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: A city lying on the Bay of Biscay, in south-western France, situated within Basque territory.
  • Language: French, Basque
  • Currency: Euro
  • Research: Wikitravel | Wikipedia
  • Weather: Rainfall | Daylight

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Summer (June-August) and autumn (September-October) are best, and March can be good.