Biarritz - Pays Basque

Feel Biarritz - Pays Basque: Belle-Époque glitz and giant waves Wedged between mountains and sea, the resort of Biarritz, in New Aquitaine, on France’s south-western Atlantic coast has been a favourite coastal getaway ever since Napoléon III and his Spanish-born wife Eugénie arrived in the mid-19th century.


The town’s elegant villas, used by the wealthy as summer retreats, are offset by a more relaxed surf culture that has a long history here: the annual surfing festival is one of Europe’s premier events in its field.


But Biarritz owes its continued popularity not only to its beaches and surfing spots, but also to its golf courses – one of which is the world’s second oldest – and rejuvenating health spas.


In addition the town boasts some remarkable physical features, chief among them a 73m-high lighthouse and a glitzy chapel built in 1864 at the request of Empress Eugénie. And with Spain just across the border, Biarritz has a distinctly Basque flavour with tomatoes, tapas and txakoli on menus everywhere.