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Destination Guide: Biarritz

Basque Coast surfing and 1920s glitz and glamour
Tucked right in France's south-west corner on the Atlantic Coast, the timeless resort town of Biarritz has not lost its faded belle époque grandeur. Reliable waves and long stretches of sandy beaches have attracted surfers and sunbathers for years.

Food and Drink

Basque gastronomy from the ocean and the Pyrenees Mountains. Fruits de mer and freshly caught fish top menus everywhere in Biarritz -; try Basque-style hake, cooked with clams and white wine, or chipirones (small squid) and pibales (young eels). Air-dried Bayonne ham goes well with a glass of the local Irouléguy wine, produced in the nearby foothills of the Pyrenees.

Sightseeing and relaxation

Prom walks and old Biarritz in splendid belle époque cafés. Marvel at the grand Hôtel du Palais built by Napolean III's wife, Eugénie, then follow the prom round to the rocky outcrop of Rocher de la Vierge. Unwind with a slice of almondy gâteau basque at Café-Pâtisserie Miremont where the Roaring Twenties crowd used to turn up in open-top Bentleys.

Shopping

Designer names and traditional Basque gifts. Place Clemenceau and its surrounding streets are lined with designer-name boutiques with the price tag to match. Delicatessens in the Old Port fill their shelves with velvety Biarritz chocolates and touron nougat packed with almonds and honey. Take home expertly woven Basque textiles and rope-soled espadrilles.

Nightlife and Entertainment

Glitzy old Biarritz and chic 21st-century bars. Dress up for roulette or blackjack at Biarritz' Art Deco Casino on the waterfront. Contemporary chic bars with sea views draw Biarritz' smart set to Place Clemenceau and rue du Port-Vieux. In the summer season free classical concerts are held at venues all over the resort town.