Alongside the beaches of Portugal and, of course, Cornwall and Devon, the South Western coast of France is a well-known European surfing spot since 1957, when the American writer Peter Viertel decided to open a surf club in Biarritz, thus bringing this sport to Europe. Surfing is such an integral part of life of the people of Biarritz that it is given as an option to students for their baccalaureate exams.
But Biarritz is not only about the surfing. It has been the destination of choice for the rich and famous since 1854 when Napoleon III and his Spanish wife Eugenie, chose Biarritz as a summer residence. Since then, it had seen the likes of Frank Sinatra, Ava Gardner, Charlie Chaplin or the members of the British Royal Family to name but a few.
Nowadays, the former fishing village is a more inclusive destination, with chilled-out restaurants and lovely terraces dotted around town, allowing for a non-expensive experience.
Situated 40-minutes drive from where we are located, Biarritz is easily reached via the A64 motorway. We’ve recently taken a day-trip with my mother and aunt and enjoyed a wonderful walk by the sea front, from the Casino, past the fishing port and all the way to the Musee de la Mer.
When it comes to food, we normally favour Bar Jean by the Halles, an institution since the 30s, but this time around we’ve discovered a seafood restaurant by the old fishing port, Casa Juan Pedro, where we were delighted with the deep-friend calamari, grilled sardines, and octopus salad, accompanied by a pitcher of sangria, as well as with the convivial atmosphere reminiscent of Biarritz’s old days as a fishing village. Best to arrive early, as by 1pm people were queuing to get seated.
The Atlantic may be a little colder than the Med in June, but you can at least dip your toes into the ocean.
Whether you’re a surfing aficionado, a lover of walks and the fresh ocean air, an admirer of beautiful architecture and breathtaking views, or perhaps a foodie, Biarritz is beautiful in every season and has something to offer for everyone. Well worth a day-trip. Or even a few days 🙂