Biarritz is an elegant, historic coastal town on France’s Basque coast in the Bay of Biscay. Starting as a small fishing village, in the 1800 Biarritz became a popular resort for European royalty. Today it is a popular tourist destination, famous for its wonderful beaches, Gaelic charm and superb Basque food. Biarritz is also famous as a surfing destination and has a number of surfing schools. The Biarritz landmark the Rocher de la Vierge, a rocky outcrop with a statue of the Virgin Mary. The best place to learn about the history of Biarritz is The Biarritz Historical Museum. The Aquarium of Biarritz showcases species that live in the Bay of Biscay and in other places along the Gulf Stream.
1.La Grande Plage
La Grande Plage is the most popular beach in Biarritz. Spacious, with plenty of room for sun worshipers, it is the beach on all Biarritz postcards: extremely photogenic, with red, green, blue and yellow stripped beach huts. Very popular surfing beach, it has several surfing schools, so if you always wanted to learn to surf, now is your opportunity. The beach is lined with the famous promenade, the place to stroll at sunset time, to see and be seen. On the other side of the promenade is the magnificent 19th century Belle Epoque Hotel du Palais built for the Russian Empress Eugenie. Nearby is the Byzantine Chapelle Imperiale church with magnificent gilded walls. At the end of the promenade is the Phare de Biarritz lighthouse.
There is a beach for everyone in Biarritz: small and big, sandy and rocky, popular and secluded. LA MILADY is popular among young people and residents and has a nice shallow part for the kids. There is a nice promenade along the beach. LA MARBELLA is the extension of Côte des Basque's beach, wild and rocky and perfect for surfing and bodyboarding. LA COTE DES BASQUE is known as .the Birthplace of Surfing, surrounded by cliffs, with a magnificent view of the Spanish coast. GRANDE PLAGE is picture-perfect, popular touristy beach lined with a promenade and a royal palace hotel. PLAGE DU MIRAMAR is popular with locals, great for taking a stroll but also for surfing and bodyboarding. PORT VIEUX is small and quiet, in the lovely rocky cove, protected from winds and surf, not far from the town center.
© Les Halles
Les Halles is the heart of Biarritz. Recently renovated, it is more than a market, it is the place where locals and tourists meet. For the locals, it is a way of life. For tourists, it is the place to learn how locals live. Locals go to Les Halles for an early breakfast before going to work. Later in the day they shop for fresh produce and then meet with friends for a drink. They go for fresh oysters at Nopal, truffle omelettes at Maison Balme, sushi at Cora, and a banana bread and green juice at the Milwaukee Café. Tourists come to learn about what grows and is made in the region and try as many local delicacies as possible. There are hundreds of cheeses, ripe, juicy fruits, seasonal veggies, Basque and Spanish hams, chorizo, fish and much more. At night, the whole Les Halles neighbourhood truly comes alive.
Rue des Halles, 64200 Biarritz
Festayre is a 13,2 km endurance race on the asphalt of the Basque country that starts in Biarritz and ends in Bayonne city. This race that is held every year just before the Fêtes de Bayonne is open to everyone. Participants are asked to be dressed in traditional south west France festival clothes – white shirt and red scarf. There's also a one kilometer-long children's race, La Foulée Ttiki, which is supervised by adults. All participants who complete the race receive an award at the finish line. For the tourists, participating in the race is great opportunity to see the area between the two major Basque cities and learn about the local traditions.
5.Le Rocher de la Vierge
A landmark and symbol of Biarritz, the Rocher de la Vierge is a rock formation in the Bay of Biscay with dramatic views and a statue of Virgin Mary on top. On one side of the Rock is the Grande Plage, the main Biarritz beach, and on the other side is the Basque Coast with the Pyrenee mountains far on the horizon. There is a footbridge that connects La Rocher to the mainland. It is difficult to say whether the view from the rock is more spectacular in good weather or during the storm. The statue of Virgin was installed on the rock in 1865 by grateful fishermen who were not able to reach the port in the storm until they saw the light on the rock, which guided them to the port.
Espl. de la Vierge, 64200 Biarritz, France, Phone: +33-5-59-22-37-10
6.Excursion to San Sebastian
© Boris Stroujko/stock.adobe.com
When exploring Spain, counting on an experienced travel agency such as Living Tours will ensure that you do have the best possible experience. Experts on trips in Spain in Portugal, their local knowledgeable guides ensure that you get the most out of your trip, learn about the country, its culture and customs and do not miss any fascinating spot. Their excursion to an Sebastian starts in Bilbao and travels through magnificent area full of history. After traveling through ancient towns and villages, San Sebastian will come as a surprise. It is very modern and cosmopolitan, with wide avenues, magnificent beaches, excellent ‘pintxos’ or tapas restaurants and many trendy shops. There is also much history, with the intricate Church of the Virgen del Coro and the City Hall. Take a stroll on the promenade along the Bay of Biscay, sit in one of many tapas bars with a glass of local wine and enjoy this very different Basque Country.
San Sebastian, Spain
7.Vahine Ori Tahiti
Vahine Ori Tahiti is an association in Biarritz, France, established in 2008 by Vaiata Maamatuiahutapu in order to promote Polynesian culture and teach Tahitian traditional dances. The association today has 54 dancers including two finalists in the international competition in Paris in 2015. Dancing classes take place in a pleasant, relaxed atmosphere and last from 45 minutes to one hour. There are different classes for different age groups. The students learn two dancing styles: the aparima, in which dancers mimic scenes of everyday life with their hands. The otea is faster and the dancers move to the sounds of percussion instruments. Classes are held at Aristide Briand primary school in Anglet.
6 Allée Léontine Danglade, 64600 Anglet, France, Phone: +33-6-13-40-31-61
© Maud zendessin/stock.adobe.com
Biarritz Olympique Pays Basque, locally known as Biarritz, is a professional rugby team based in Biarritz, France. Biarritz Olympique was formed in 1913 after a merger of the Biarritz Stade and Biarritz Sporting Club rugby teams. The team competes in the Rugby Pro D2, the second division of French rugby league. Biarritz plays its home games at the Parc des Sports Aguiléra, a multi-use stadium with a capacity of about 13,500 people. The games that need a bigger capacity, Biarritz plays at the Estadio Anoeta in San Sebastián. The team colors are red and white. Biarritz won five French championships. Their first play in the finals was in the 1934 season, when they were defeated by Bayonne. They claimed their first championship in 1935.
Parc des Sports Aguiléra Rue Cino Del Duca 64200 Biarritz, Phone: 05-59-01-64-60 or 05-59-01-64-63
Espadrilles, popular cloth footwear now worn all over the world, were invented in the Basque Country and Catalonia, and have very humble roots. Before becoming the fashionable summer shoes for French trendy girls, all the way in the 1400s they were common peasant footwear. At the time, wealthy people wore leather shoes. As Basque soldiers fought for Catalan independence, together with the working-class people they were fighting for, they were wearing their traditional espadrilles. In time, espadrilles became popular across the globe, now worn not only by peasants but by celebrities and presidents. Art of Soule company made espadrille fashionable again in 2008 when they came up with the model that has colors of the popular local rugby team. Then they made them in colors of the our de Fance the All Blacks, Sex Pistols, Paris Saint Germain and other popular names. Today, they are one of the most popular Basque export, far more fashionable than sneaker. Nobody leaves Biarritz without taking at least one pair.
28 Rue Gambetta, 64200 Biarritz, France, Phone: +33-6-87-11-76-07
10.Le Clos Basque
Le Clos Basque is a tiny jewel of a restaurant in Biarritz, with ancient stone walls, massive ornate fireplace, white tablecloths and authentic Basque food. It is elegant but lively, always packed, inside and on lovely outside patio smothered in flowering vines. The food is seasonal and depends on what is locally available, but expect such local dishes as axoa with mashed veal, tomatoes and onions with a touch of red Espelette chilli. You might also want to try the salmon and trout tartare with lime, the braised pork casserole or the big ravioli with mushroom Dussels and caramelized onions, and finish with a red fruit tiramisu or a chocolate fondant with orange marmalade. Try excellent local wines but the bar is well-stocked with anything else.
12 Avenue Louis Barthou, 64200 Biarritz, France, Phone: +33-5-59-24-24-96
© Le Pim’pi
Le Pim’pi is a quintessential French bistro in downtown Biarritz, small and charming, with long leather banquettes along the wall and framed photos on the wall. The menu is posted on a blackboard on the wall and is seasonal and as much local as possible. It is bistro food but in the category of its own. Every plate is beautifully presented and cooked to perfection. You might want to try pink shrimp ravioli with lime and coconut broth, or a bonito fish pate with sweet cabbage, cuttlefish ink, chives and mango chutney sauce with sherry vinegar. Don’t pass the desserts, they are little pieces of art and not only the way they look. Le Pim’pi has a reputation as one of the best Biarritz restaurants.
14 Avenue de Verdun, 64200 Biarritz, France, Phone: +33-5-59-24-12-62
© Blue Cargo
With two terraces overlooking the beach and endless blue ocean, Blue Cargo has probably the most spectacular location in the entire Biarritz. During the day, it is the place to come for cocktails and delicious local food focused on seasonal produce and seafood, with the feet in the sand, enjoying the soft music by the DJs. The sunsets, with fantastic cocktails in hand, are memorable. At night, Blue Cargo is the local party place, with live music and dancing into the night. The tapa bar serves traditional tapas and sushi, but most guests are more interested in drinking. On Friday, during the day, you can even get a massage.
2 Avenue du Lac, 64210 Bidart, France, Phone: +33-5-59-23-54-87
© Crampotte 30
For a bit of local color, stroll down to the Biarritz fishing port where a line of small shacks, known as cabanes are converted from the storage sheds for fishermen into trendy eateries and bars. You will recognize Crampotte 30 by its fun green shutters and red tables. The place is popular with locals, who love to come and enjoy verines, tapas, pates, cheeses and meats straight from the nearby market, while discussing the world affairs. Sit and join the locals, try some Txakoli (local sparkling white wine) and delicious tapas and relax in the sun.
30 Allée Port des Pêcheurs, 64200 Biarritz, France, Phone: +33-6-54-84-27-84
14.Cafe du Commerce
© Café du Commerce
Café du Commerce is a popular local bistro in Biarritz where locals come for an afternoon aperitif or for a filet steak on a plancha and where tourists stop by for the classic Gallic atmosphere. Café du Commerce is no frills, cozy and spacious place with plenty of sidewalk tables for people watching. The food is superb, whether you order a deli board to share with friends over a bottle of wine or fabulous veal carpaccio with chives and walnut oil or foie gras ravioli. Being in Biarritz, there is plenty of fresh fish as well, just check the daily specials on the board on the wall.
1 Rue des Halles, 64200 Biarritz, France, Phone: +33-5-59-41-87-24
© Chez Scott
Chez Scott is the new restaurant in Biarritz where Chef Scott Serrato is weaving his magic at the open kitchen overlooking the beautifully designed elegant dining room. Ancient stone walls are lined with comfortable banquettes and small tables are tucked in the intimate corners. The restaurant has dual personality: at lunch, it is a place for a quick lunch, at the bar overlooking the kitchen or at one of the long communal tables. The soup of the day, made from fresh local ingredients, is the main dish. In the evening, Chez Scott puts on its finery – white table cloths and soft lighting - and offers creative dishes guests have to linger over and enjoy in peace, over a bottle or two of wine. All ingredients are fresh and local produce and fresh fish from the nearby market play the main role. There is also Basque pork in all its forms -melted and caramelized breast, snacked pudding, crisp finger pig's foot, braised cheek in red wine sauce, to mention just few.
4 Rue Jean Bart, 64200 Biarritz, France, Phone: +33-5-59-22-85-98
The Impertinent restaurant in Biarritz is contemporary, almost Zen sparse but with warmth and color introduced by the beautiful original artwork on the walls and Sarah Feldmann sculptures scattered around. The tables, covered with crisp white tablecloths, are widely spaced to avoid overcrowding, adding to the feel of intimacy. Chef Fabian Feldmann adds more art to the restaurant with his beautifully presented plates made from fresh, seasonal, organic local produce and fish that comes straight off the boat of local fishermen. Everything is handmade for each guest, including fresh bread. The best way to really indulge in Chef’s artistry is to go for the Four Course Tasting Menu with wine. It is a memorable experience.
5 Rue d'Alsace, 64200 Biarritz, France, Phone: +33-5-59-51-03-67
© Fumoir Marin
Fumoir Marin in Biarritz is a small contemporary restaurant that specializes in the bounty from the sea. Whether it is smoked, marinated, grilled, fried or roasted, the main objective of chef Maxime Lienard is to make his guests taste seafood at its best, prepared to perfection, using traditional old-fashioned methods from all over the world. There is also meat on the menu, also smoked, marinated, roasted or grilled, and like the seafood, best tasted when ordered in a tasting platter, with a bit of everything. It is perfect for sharing with friends and family, what makes Fumoir Marin very family-friendly place.
10 Avenue de la Marne, 64200 Biarritz, France, Phone: +33-5-59-22-84-05
© Asiatica Musée
The Asiatica museum in Biarritz is a museum that features art from India, Nepal, Tibet and China, dating from prehistoric times to today. The museum opened in 1999 by Michel Postel, a passionate collector of Asian art and culture. All objects were collected during his travels through Asia before 1973, when the Antiquities Act forbid import of antiques. The museum curator is Xintian Zhu, an artist, photographer and painter, who has a doctorate in art history and archeology and is one of the museum’s founders. The collection includes diverse objects dedicated to Buddhism , Jainism, Hinduism, Tantrism and other Asian religions. The collection portraits the diversity of cultures, eras, countries and artistic domains and covers paintings, sculptures, folk art, religious art and other art media. Besides its permanent collection, the museum also features temporary exhibits every few months on different themes related to Asian traditions, history, lifestyle and other subjects.
1 Rue Guy Petit, 64200 Biarritz, France, Phone: +33-5-59-22-78-78
19.Musée Historique de Biarritz
© Musée Historique de Biarritz
The Biarritz Historical Museum is a is a great place to learn about the history of the town and the region from its days as a small fishing village to today’s trendy, cosmopolitan center. The museum has a permanent collection with treasures and everyday objects from different historic periods, starting as a fishing village, then the city of Queen Eugenie and Napoleon III, the Biarritz of the roaring twenties and the mecca of the Europe’s rich and fashionable. The museum is located in an old Anglican church, and was established in 1986 by the Friends of Old Biarritz. The whole building is part of the museum, from the porch made in honor of the English officers who died during the Napoleonic wars in 1814, with a genealogical tree of the Bonaparte on its right side. The choir holds the collection of objects related to the Second Empire, when the royal couple established its summer residence in Biarritz in Villa Eugenie. The original doors of the villa were moved to the museum after the villa burned to the ground. There is also a silk tapestry brought from the Chinese campaign in 1860, books, photos, a tea service and other objects that belonged to the Royal Prince and much more.
Eglise St Andrews, Rue Broquedis, 64200 Biarritz, France, Phone: +33-5-59-24-86-28
20.Musee de la Mer de Biarritz
© Musée de la Mer de Biarritz
The Aquarium of Biarritz, also known as the Sea Museum or le Musée de la Mer was established in 1933 in a beautiful art deco style building. The aquarium is located in the heart of Biarritz and has more than 50 aquariums that follow the Gulf Stream, from the Bay of Biscay to the Pacific Ocean. It also includes an 11-meter high coral reefs, The extensive collection of marine animals occupies four floors and it contains marine life from the Bay of Biscay, the tank with turtles, the seal tank, information on cetaceans, fishing, the history of whaling, the Caribbean species, the north Atlantic tanks, the Indo-Pacific exhibit with the shark tank, and the gift shop.
Plateau de l'Atalaye, 64200 Biarritz, France
21.Cite de l'Ocean
© Cité de l’Océan
The Cité de l'Océan et du Surf is a museum in Biarritz open in 2011 at the end of the Milady beach. It is located in the award-winning structure designed by Steven Holl Architects and Solange Fabião for the 2005 international competition. The structure follows a concept "under the sky" and "under the sea" featuring a curving roof, and in consequence similarly shaped interior spaces and public plaza, which are all seemingly leaning towards the ocean. The 3800 square meters museum includes gallery spaces, a spacious auditorium, a restaurant, cafeteria and administrative offices. It is surrounded by a public outdoor landscaped area that flows from the museum's plaza to the water and is its intrinsic part. The museum’s goal is to let the visitors discover the ocean and its inhabitants in a fun and exciting way. Its hands-on interactive exhibits answer questions such as where does the ocean water come, how are waves created, why is the sea salty and many others.
1 Avenue de la Plage, 64200 Biarritz, France
21 Best Things to Do in Biarritz, France
- La Grande Plage, Photo: mikeosphoto/stock.adobe.com
- Beaches, Photo: slava/stock.adobe.com
- Les Halles, Photo: Les Halles
- Festayre, Photo: sportpoint/stock.adobe.com
- Le Rocher de la Vierge, Photo: rochagneux/stock.adobe.com
- Excursion to San Sebastian, Photo: Boris Stroujko/stock.adobe.com
- Vahine Ori Tahiti, Photo: Kalim/stock.adobe.com
- Rugby Match, Photo: Maud zendessin/stock.adobe.com
- Espadrilles, Photo: Espadrilles
- Le Clos Basque, Photo: weyo/stock.adobe.com
- Le Pim'pi, Photo: Le Pim’pi
- Blue Cargo, Photo: Blue Cargo
- Crampotte 30, Photo: Crampotte 30
- Cafe du Commerce, Photo: Café du Commerce
- Chez Scott, Photo: Chez Scott
- L’Impertinent, Photo: L’Impertinent
- Fumoir Marin, Photo: Fumoir Marin
- Asiatica Musee, Photo: Asiatica Musée
- Musée Historique de Biarritz, Photo: Musée Historique de Biarritz
- Musee de la Mer de Biarritz, Photo: Musée de la Mer de Biarritz
- Cite de l'Ocean, Photo: Cité de l’Océan
- Cover Photo: bbsferrari/stock.adobe.com