Biarritz: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Coordinates: 43°28′54″N 1°33′22″W / 43.4816666667°N 1.55611111111°W / 43.4816666667; -1.55611111111

Commune of Biarritz
France-Biarritz-Grande lage et Casino-2005-08-05.jpg
Beach and casino in Biarritz

Biarritz is located in France
Country France
Region Aquitaine
Department Pyrénées-Atlantiques
Arrondissement Bayonne
Intercommunality Bayonne-Anglet-Biarritz
Mayor Didier Borotra
Elevation 0–85 m (0–280 ft)
Land area1 11.66 km2 (4.50 sq mi)
Population2 27,398  (2006)
 - Density 2,350 /km2 (6,100 /sq mi)
INSEE/Postal code 64122/ 64200
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.
2 Population sans doubles comptes: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.

Biarritz (French pronunciation: [bjaˈʀits]; Gascon Occitan: Biàrritz; Basque: Biarritz IPA: [biarits̻] or Miarritze) is a city which lies on the Bay of Biscay, on the Atlantic coast, in south-western France. It is a luxurious seaside town and is popular with tourists and surfers.

The town lies in Basque territory, and Basque flags and symbols are prevalent throughout Biarritz.



Biarritz is located in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques department in the Aquitaine region. It is adjacent to Bayonne and Anglet and 11 miles (18 kilometres) from the border with Spain. It is in the traditional province of Labourd in the French Basque Country.


Vikings who invaded Gascony in 840 settled in Biarritz, which later participated in the whaling trade. Biarritz is a Basque name with locative suffix -itz (cp. Isturitz) attested Bearriz in 1170, Bearids in 1186, Bearritz in 1249. The Scandinavians settled in the area above the Gardague Beach. It has been suggested (disputedly) that the remaining Vikings became "Agots," a social group in Gascony not allowed to mix with the population at large. Segregation among these communities—there were many in Gascony and Navarra— disappeared only in the early 20th century.

Biarritz has long made its fortune from the sea: as a whaling settlement from the twelfth century onwards, in the 18th century doctors recommended that the ocean at Biarritz had therapeutic properties, inspiring patients to make pilgrimages to the beach for alleged cures for their ailments.

Biarritz became more renowned in 1854 when Empress Eugenie (the wife of Napoleon III) built a palace on the beach (now the Hôtel du Palais). The British royal family regularly took vacations in Biarritz: European royalty such as Queen Victoria, Edward VII, and Alfonso XIII of Spain were frequent visitors.

Biarritz's casino (opened 10 August 1901) and beaches make the town a notable tourist centre for Europeans.

Main sights

Biarritz from the Pointe Saint-Martin.

Biarritz features:

  • the Asiatica Museum, which houses a significant collection of Asian art primarily from India, Nepal, Tibet, and China.
  • The Museum of the Sea, which has 24 aquariums containing sharks and seals
  • The annual Biarritz Surf Festival founded in 1993 at the Côte des Basques is one of the premier surf events in Europe and longboarding events in the world.[1]
  • St-Martin's Church, constructed in the 12th century, and restored in the middle of the 16th century.
  • The Russian Orthodox Church in Biarritz, constructed in the 19th century for visiting Russian aristocrats, with its famous blue dome.
  • The Chapelle Imperiale built for Empress Eugenie, which has an intricately decorated roof interior, and elegant wall tiling.
  • A Museum of Chocolate, which explains its history and manufacture.
  • Two large Casinos, the Barriere and the Bellevue, on the waterfront by the Grande Plage.

Spectacular cliffs and lookouts lie to the west of the main beach.


Surfing in Biarritz is of a world-class standard and first appeared in 1957.[2] The town has a strong surfing culture.[3]

The town is home to a prominent rugby union club, Biarritz Olympique.

Basque pelota is a very popular sport of the Basque country. Several local and international competitions take place in Biarritz.

The golf course near the lighthouse (Le Phare) was created in 1888 by British residents. In addition to this the town has a large circular golf range area on the border with illbaritz.


Biarritz is easily accessible from Paris by France's high-speed train, the TGV, which departs from Gare Montparnasse. Furthermore, as of April 2008 a 'discothèque' night train runs this route.[citation needed]

Biarritz has an airport Aéroport de Biarritz-Anglet-Bayonne located about 4 kilometres away from the city in the inland. It's very near at N10 road towards Anglet, it is joined airport with Anglet and Bayonne.

Notable people

Biarritz was the birthplace of:


  • Aaron Bank, World War II Office of Strategic Services (OSS) agent and co-founder of the U.S. Army's Special Forces Group (later, Green Berets), was a lifeguard and medical (physical) therapist's aide at Biarritz before he enlisted in the army in the late 1930s.

International relations

Twin towns – sister cities

Biarritz is twinned with:[4]


See also



External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Biarritz is a large town in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques département of Aquitaine, France.

Town centre, Biarritz
Town centre, Biarritz

Get in

Biarritz lies on the Bay of Biscay, on the Atlantic coast, in southwestern France. It is adjacent to Bayonne (France) and Anglet and 11 miles (18 km) from the border with Spain.

By car

Biarritz is about 7 and half hours from Paris, at about 480 miles (775 km). Biarritz is easily accessed via the D911 road, off the N10. These routes are close to the A63 - a road connecting Belin-Béliet to Bayonne to the border of Spain. In a general idea, heading towards Bayonne, and then directing on the local by-roads to Biarritz is the most straight-forward route. The following are general roads to follow to reach Biarritz:

  • Paris - A10, N10, A63 (E05)
  • Lyon - A7, A9, A61, N117, A64 (E15-E80)
  • Marseille - A54, A9, A61, N117, A64 (E15-E80)
  • Bilbao - A1 (E70)
  • Madrid - N1, A1 (E70)

By train

Biarritz train station is 2 miles (3 km) from the town centre. For information on trains to and from Biarritz, visit the SNCF website [1].

  • Paris → Biarritz
About 5 hours via TGV, trains running direct several times a day. There is also a Paris-Biarritz night train service.

Prices are between 55 and €70 for the TGV full-fare, with night train fares starting at €15 one way.

By bus

Buses arrive on square d'Ixelles, in the centre of Biarritz. There are buses from Bayonne, Anglet, Pau, Saint-Jean-de-Luz, Hendaye and some trans-border buses from Spain.

By plane

Biarritz-Anglet-Bayonne International Airport [2] is located 3 km (2 miles) from the town centre. Tel: 33 (0)5 59 43 83 83

Direct flights from:

  • Bristol - 2/3 flights a week with EasyJet.
  • Copenhagen - 2 flights a week with Sterling [3].
  • Dublin - 4 flights per week with Ryanair - flying time 2hrs
  • London Stansted - daily flights with Ryanair [4] - flying time 1hr 45min
  • Lyon - daily flights with Air France - flying time 1hr 20min
  • Paris Orly - 4 to 5 flights a day with Air France [5] - flying time 1hr 20min
  • Paris Charles de Gaulle - 3 flights a day with Air France - flying time 1hr 20min
  • Shannon - 3 flights per week with Ryanair - flying time 2hrs 10min

You can get to the city from the airport by bus or taxi. A single bus fare is approximately €1.5.

Get around

On foot

Biarritz is very pedestrianised, and it is easy to get around the town centre, to the beaches, and to the best spots for surfing or shopping. This means whatever your holiday needs is a short and pleasant walking distance away. However, it can be quite hilly in places.

By bus

There is an excellent bus network, including Bayonne and Anglet, and bus journeys are a flat Euro 1.20 payable in cash on the bus. Cheaper multiple journey tickets are also available, but cannot be bought on the bus. Bus 6 leaves from the airport to the centre every 15-20 minutes. There is no bus between the train station and the airport.


Biarritz is famous for its coast and the rocks in the sea. There is the church of Sainte Eugenie, a Russian Orthodox church, the Museum of the Sea (entrance about €6) with a lot of interesting animals like different kinds of fish, anemones, sharks and seals in aquariums and other topics like fishing in the last centuries, birds, catching whales. Then there is a Museum of Asian Art and a lighthouse (entrance €2).


The beaches are excellent and this is a major surf resort. The main beach, Grand Plage, gets very crowded, but there is also a long surfers' beach on the Boulevard du Prince de Galles, called Cote de Basque, that has almost no sand at high tide, but is superb at low tide. The surf beaches at Anglet are easily accessible by bus, and surfboards that aren't too big are allowed on the local buses in the summer at least. There is a small beach by the Esplanade du Porte Vieux that is good for swimming when the surfer's beach is closed.

There are several thalasso-therapy centres, with sea water, seaweed and related treatments.

  • Thermes Marins, Rue de Madrid. Offer a reasonable half-day pass for € 17, including use of warm sea water pools, sauna and steam room. The sauna is rather worn, but serviceable.


  • Chiberta, 104 Blvd des Plages, +33 5 59525110, [6].  edit


  • Biarritz Olympique [7] plays rugby union (15 a side) in the French Top 14 competition, and is also a regular competitor in the Europe-wide Heineken Cup (referred to as "H Cup" in France due to restrictions on alcohol advertising). BO play most of their home games at the Parc des Sports Aguiléra in town, but will take an occasional home match across the Spanish border to Estadio Anoeta in Donostia-San Sebastián. Ticket information is available here (French only).

There is a large aquarium and a tourist land-train

  • Nature Sport Activities, Rue de la Marne. Rent bike and surfboards. Surfschool, pelote basqua, rafting, sea kayaking, wave ski, ... Takamaka
  • Central Market, rue des Halles. Has a wide range of fresh food, and is well worth a visit even if you don't want to buy anything. It is only open from 7:30 to 13:30.
  • Galleries Lafayette, Place G Clemenceau. Has a large and decently priced supermarket in the basement.
  • Aux Alizés, 4 av de Marne, Tel: 05 59 22 23 52. Has a very good and Basque-influenced carte and proper 3-course menus at Euro 17 and 22. Closed Tuesday evening and Wednesday. Many of the more tourist-orientated places have quite poor prix fixe menus.
  • Pizzeria des Arceaux, 20-24 avenue Édouard-VII, Tel: 05 59 24 11 47. Pizzas all seem to be either Euro 9,80 or 9,90. An odd pricing scheme, yet the pizzas are very good, as is the fish and the large desserts. Closed Monday.


There are several places to go clubbing in Biarritz. One example is a great club called Le Copa located in the centre of the town. At the same place you can find many bars, as a pub crawl night is a must if you visit Biarritz. Another good club is the one under the Casino, and the best thing of all is that it is for free and does not close at two or three o'clock like the bars do.

  • Hôtel Atalaye, 6 rue des Goélands,, [8]. All en-suite hotel, the best rooms (including a few tiny singles) have small balconies and face the place and sea. Singles € 35-€ 50, Doubles € 42-€ 70, Triples € 55-€ 84.
  • Hôtel Gardénia, 19 av Carnot,, [9]. Two-star, old-fashioned and quiet hotel with a mix of rooms, not all with their own bathrooms. Singles € 33-€ 57, Twins € 49-€ 59, Triples € 51-€ 63.
  • Hôtel Maïtagaria, 34 av Carnot,, [10]. Mostly smart rooms in a quiet location, with back garden. Doubles € 47-€ 64, Triples € 74-€ 80.
  • Hostellerie Victoria, 12 av de la Reine Victoria, More expensive hotel in a Neo-Gothic mansion, wih huge rooms equipped with comfortable beds and iron bathtubs.
  • "Pierre & Vacances" [11] Have six self-catering apartments in the area, family sized and centrally located.

Get out

Bayonne, the Pyrenees and Spanish border towns such as San Sebastian are all easily accessible from Biarritz.

This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

BIARRITZ, a watering-place of south-western France, in the department of Basses-Pyrenees, on the sea-coast about 5 m. W.S.W. of Bayonne. Pop. (1906) 13,629. From a mere fishing village, with a few hundred inhabitants in the beginning of the 1 9th century, Biarritz rose rapidly into a place of importance under the patronage of the emperor Napoleon III. and the empress Eugenie, with whom it was a favourite resort. The town is situated on a promontory jutting north-west into the Bay of Biscay and on the coast which extends on each side of it. The beach to the north-east is known as the Grande Plage, that to the south-west as the Cote des Basques. The Grande Plage is more than half a mile long and stretches to the Cap St Martin, on which stands a lighthouse. It is divided into two parts by a small headland once the site of the villa of the empress Eugenie, between which and the main promontory are the two casinos, the principal baths and many luxurious villas and fine hotels. Towards the north-east the promontory of Biarritz ends in a projection known as the Atalaye, crowned by the ruins of a castle and surrounded by rocky islets. Some of these are united to the mainland and to each other by jetties which curve round so as to form the Port de Refuge, a haven available only in fair weather. South-west of the Atalaye lies the Port-Vieux, a sheltered cove now used only as a bathing-place. The Port des Pecheurs, the principal of the three harbours, is on the south-east side of the Atalaye and is that most used by the fishermen of the town. Apart from unimportant manufactures of pottery, chocolate, &c., fishing is the only industry; Biarritz depends for its prosperity on the visitors who are attracted by its mild climate and the bathing. The season is almost continuous; in the winter the English, in the summer Russians, Spaniards and French fill the hotels of the town. Among its attractions is a golf club, established in 1888, with a course of 18 holes.

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Simple English

Biarritz is a commune of the Pyrénées-Atlantiques département in the southwestern part of France.

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