Made famous by the Empress Eugénie, Biarritz has a mild climate and a beautiful rugged coastline made up of jagged curves and rocky stacks. With its long-standing reputation as a health and recreational destination, its greens are open to those who love the little white ball, its rolling waves attract surfers from around the world and its thalassotherapy and fitness centres need no introduction. The Casino, conference centres with remarkable architecture, museums, sites of interest and cultural events make this a lively and welcoming destination all year long.
In 1854, Emperor Napoléon III, had the Villa Eugénie built as a token of his love for the Empress Eugénie, who was already an unconditional devotee of the region. The villa became the summer residence for the imperial couple and their court. Thanks to them, the little whaling port became a fashionable seaside resort for the aristocracy and later the jet set.
In 1893, the Villa Eugénie was transformed into a hotel and, in 1903, its name was changed to the Hôtel du Palais. Today, it is an internationally renowned 5-star hotel, the only one with “palace” classification on the Atlantic coast, and emblematic of Biarritz.
THE SEASHORE … AND ALSO GREEN SPACES WORTHY OF INTEREST
The little-known Chemin des Lacs is an 8 km circuit which starts at Plage de la Milady and leads to Lac Marion and then to Lac Mouriscot as far as the Cité de l'Océan. Two 5 km variants within this circuit allow you to choose either the lakes side or the beach side.
With 6 kilometres of shore line and 6 beaches, Biarritz offers a tantalizing diversity of natural landscapes. A walk from the headland Pointe St Martin to the Côte des Basques beach will take you along the Grande Plage beach and passed the Rocher de la Vierge and the fishermen’s port: the coastline has an infinite number of nooks and crannies to explore.
Just a stone’s throw from the town centre is Lake Marion, a peaceful and bucolic spot much appreciated by families. There is also Lake Mouriscot, a natural park that is protected and partly listed as a Natura 2000 site; it covers an area of 110 hectares and is a popular place for a walk in an area of exceptional environmental interest.
Preserved natural heritage
Centuries of history have given Biarritz an incredible variety of buildings : from the Orthodox Church to the Byzantine Chapel, the medieval villa to the Art Deco Municipal Casino. This exceptional architecture bears witness to the history of Biarritz. It is now enriched by the urban planning of Jean-Michel Wilmotte for the Bellevue and the Place Clémenceau, Pierre Bideau for the lighting along the coast (the designer of the lighting on the Eifel tower) and the American Steve Holl for Cité de l’Océan, a fun natural science space opened in 2011
A health conscious town
Two sports are particularly in the spotlight : Golfing and Surfing.
The Golf du Phare is the second oldest golf course on the European continent, and is now one of the dozen courses that are dotted around the region. Biarritz is the cradle of surfing in Europe with its world-famous waves being surfed since 1957.
There are, of course, other popular sports such as Rugby or the spectacular Basque pelote and Cesta Punta. Thalassotherapy, or seawater therapy, is an established tradition.
A cosmopolitan city open to the world, it has never ceased to be inspiring and welcoming to creators and artists. The fifteen or so works of art dotted around Biarritz are an original way of discovering the city. The route takes the visitor from the Gare du Midi to the Cité de l'Océan, passing by the Bellevue, the Rocher de la Vierge, the Côte des Basques, etc.
AN ALL-YEAR-ROUND WELCOME
Winter and summer, night and day, Biarritz attracts many visitors with its festive and lively atmosphere, incomparable gastronomy and art of living. It has a huge choice of accommodation and many places to visit.
Its yearlong cultural programme includes: The Biarritz Latin American festival, t Temps d’Aimer dance festival and FIPADOC the international documentary film festival. Highlights that reflect the appeal of a cosmopolitan city open to the world that never tires of inspiring and welcoming creators and artists.