Biarritz, France | Travel Guide

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Like I shared in an earlier post, I am quite a bit behind on my blog writing, so I am hopping back in time to August 2016 when we traveled to France for a friends wedding (blog post here) & then took a road trip down the coast of France into Spain. After stopping in St-Émilion for one night of wine tasting, we drove south to spend 3 nights in Biarritz. 

 

BIARRITZ

Biarritz is a little sea side city on the Bay of Biscay in the French Basque Country in southwestern France.  It has this wonderful mix of ritzy glamour and laid back surfers paradise. (add in amazing french food + a gorgeous coastline? i'm in love)

Here is a little history for you -  in the mid-19th century it became a favorite holiday spot of Napoleon III & his spanish wife Eugénie which made it quite popular for the years to come. Attracting people like Frank Sinatra, Bette Davis, and Ernest Hemingway. By now the old-fashioned elegance has started to wear off, and the surfers are starting to take over. 


WHERE TO STAY

In regards to location - luckily Biarritz is quite small, so you really cant go wrong. We personally wanted to be as close to the beach as possible (while still keeping our budget under control), so we went with an airbnb a few blocks from "Plage du Port-Vieux"

 
  HOTEL DU PALAIS  - $$$ -  website   If you are in the mood to splurge, this is the place to do it. (about $600 a night during the high season) This location was built by Napoleon III in the mid-19th century for his wife. (formerly Villa Eugenie). Its located on Miramar beach, directly next to the Grand Plage. You will be among some good company as Coco Chanel, Frank Sinatra & Ava Gardner have stayed there. 

HOTEL DU PALAIS - $$$ - website

If you are in the mood to splurge, this is the place to do it. (about $600 a night during the high season) This location was built by Napoleon III in the mid-19th century for his wife. (formerly Villa Eugenie). Its located on Miramar beach, directly next to the Grand Plage. You will be among some good company as Coco Chanel, Frank Sinatra & Ava Gardner have stayed there. 

  HOTEL CAFE DU PARIS  - $$ -  website   A bit more affordable 4 star hotel. In a perfectly central location only blocks from the beach. 

HOTEL CAFE DU PARIS - $$ - website

A bit more affordable 4 star hotel. In a perfectly central location only blocks from the beach. 

  AIRBNB  - $ - $$$ -  website   Ahh Airbnb - a personal favorite of mine. Where you can get a beachfront balcony room / apartment for under $100.  Airbnb is subjective to what you're looking for (if you want fresh linens each morning & the option of room service - go to a hotel). But if you want to live like a local - its perfect. 

AIRBNB - $ - $$$ - website

Ahh Airbnb - a personal favorite of mine. Where you can get a beachfront balcony room / apartment for under $100.  Airbnb is subjective to what you're looking for (if you want fresh linens each morning & the option of room service - go to a hotel). But if you want to live like a local - its perfect. 


WHAT TO DO

Biarritz is a perfect location for all types of vacation-ers. Whether you prefer a relaxing holiday or one with a bit more adventure, you can do a bit of everything. (with a glass of french rosé waiting for you at the end of every day). 

  GO SURFING!  Or at least watch the surfers at Plage de la Côte des Basques. We attempted one morning at it was AMAZING! (luckily you rent the wetsuit with the surf board because the water was cold!) 

GO SURFING! Or at least watch the surfers at Plage de la Côte des Basques. We attempted one morning at it was AMAZING! (luckily you rent the wetsuit with the surf board because the water was cold!) 

 Lay out, swim, and pretend you are Napoleon on holiday at the Grande Plage

Lay out, swim, and pretend you are Napoleon on holiday at the Grande Plage

 Walk along the boardwalk / walkway which goes from the Grand Plage to Plage de la Côte des Basques. I highly recommend getting a gelato for the walk ;) 

Walk along the boardwalk / walkway which goes from the Grand Plage to Plage de la Côte des Basques. I highly recommend getting a gelato for the walk ;) 

 Visit  Les Halles ! ( website ) As you may already know, I LOVE a local food market, and this one was unbelievable. Especially for the seafood section. (although i do not recommend walking through here if you are hungover from too many cocktails at "Le Rendez Vous" the night before). 

Visit Les Halles! (website) As you may already know, I LOVE a local food market, and this one was unbelievable. Especially for the seafood section. (although i do not recommend walking through here if you are hungover from too many cocktails at "Le Rendez Vous" the night before). 


WHAT TO EAT

In my personal opinion, you are at the center of all of my favorite cuisines:

  1. You are in FRANCE (aka french bread, french wine, french cuisine) 
  2. By the OCEAN (aka fresh seafood) 
  3. In Basque country only 45 minutes away from SAN SEBASTIAN (aka tapas / pintxo heaven). 

Foods you should try while in Biarritz:

  • Fresh Seafood - my personal favorite: Chipirones (fried baby squid)

  • Tuna Tartare - I usually go for Steak Tartare in Paris, but when you're this close to the ocean??

  • French Baguettes - This is relevant no matter where in France you are.

  • Tapas / Pinxtos - A spanish specialty of little plates, but mixed with french cuisine? perfection.

  • Basque Macarons - who would have thought there are two different types of Macarons in France? Deliciously sweet little cookie (but not sandwiched around jam, etc). Go to Mason Adam to try the original. 

  • Local oysters

  • Brebis - a local sheep cheese

  • Axoa - veal & pepper stew (a typical Basque dish)


BARS / RESTAURANTS

 
  Le Surfing  - $$ - $$$ -  website   An amazing seaside restaurant directly alongside Cote de Basque, a favorite surf spot. Perfect for surf-watching with a side of beers & fresh seafood. (the burgers looked AMAZING).  We fell upon this restaurant when walking along the beach our first night. We had beers sitting at the bar while watching the surfers. We were so inspired that the next morning we came back to attempt to surf! (I basically paddled for 2 hours). After our surfing session we rewarded ourselves with fish & chips and tuna tartare. 

Le Surfing - $$ - $$$ - website

An amazing seaside restaurant directly alongside Cote de Basque, a favorite surf spot. Perfect for surf-watching with a side of beers & fresh seafood. (the burgers looked AMAZING).

We fell upon this restaurant when walking along the beach our first night. We had beers sitting at the bar while watching the surfers. We were so inspired that the next morning we came back to attempt to surf! (I basically paddled for 2 hours). After our surfing session we rewarded ourselves with fish & chips and tuna tartare. 

  Any restaurant near "Les Halles"   This area is AMAZING at night. Little tapas restaurants & french restaurants one right after the other. The streets are filled with high top tables, so you walk into whichever tapas restaurant looks the best - order your tapas and bring them to a great people watching table.   There are also a selection of beautiful looking french restaurants in this area if you're also looking for a sit down dinner.

Any restaurant near "Les Halles"

This area is AMAZING at night. Little tapas restaurants & french restaurants one right after the other. The streets are filled with high top tables, so you walk into whichever tapas restaurant looks the best - order your tapas and bring them to a great people watching table. 

There are also a selection of beautiful looking french restaurants in this area if you're also looking for a sit down dinner.

  Le Bar Bu  - $$ -  website   We stumbled upon this restaurant on our last night in Biarritz. We wanted something low-key, near our Airbnb. And we were so happily surprised! It was a lively bar with some amazing gourmet tapas. 

Le Bar Bu - $$ - website

We stumbled upon this restaurant on our last night in Biarritz. We wanted something low-key, near our Airbnb. And we were so happily surprised! It was a lively bar with some amazing gourmet tapas. 


 

SPOTS TO STAY HEALTHY IN BIARRITZ

  SURF!  What a workout this was! Especially because all I did was paddle in, not catch a wave, and then paddle back out. My arms were sore!

SURF! What a workout this was! Especially because all I did was paddle in, not catch a wave, and then paddle back out. My arms were sore!

 Stop by   Bali Bowls   for some vegetarian / vegan options for breakfast & lunch. Try out one of their smoothie bowls on a hot summer day. 

Stop by Bali Bowls for some vegetarian / vegan options for breakfast & lunch. Try out one of their smoothie bowls on a hot summer day. 

  Go for a run  along the boardwalk which goes along all of the beaches in Biarritz. 

Go for a run along the boardwalk which goes along all of the beaches in Biarritz. 


If you have any tips, favorite restaurants, favorite surf spots in Biarritz - please share them into the comments section! 

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