A local’s guide to Biarritz, France: five great things to do

1 year ago 135

Isabelle de Joantho is a creator and sculptor who studied astatine the Bayonne-Anglet-Biarritz School of Art.


La Goulue edifice (named aft a can-can dancer astatine the Moulin Rouge who utilized to gulp down her clients’ drinks) serves great, section fare successful a Basque-red 1900s eating room. I emotion the chipirons grillés a la plancha (squid grilled with ail and parsley) and Spanish-style oversea bream. For caller food, Les Halles covered marketplace is filled with tasting bars, integrated bakeries, food and charcuterie stalls and fishmongers. Two different places not to miss are Place Bellevue connected the seafront for 1 of Maison Pariès’ caramel fondant kanougas, flavoured with vanilla oregon Espelette chilli pepper. And successful Bidart, a municipality a small mode down the coast, it’s worthy watching a gâteau basque (a barroom with a creamy filling and orangish zest) being made successful beforehand of you astatine the Moulin de Bassilour watermill.


Église de Sainte-Eugénie
Église de Sainte-Eugénie. Photograph: Perry van Munster/Alamy

Overlooking the aged sportfishing larboard is the impressive, greystone neo-Gothic Église de Sainte-Eugénie – patron saint of Napoleon III’s wife, Eugénie de Montijo, who fashioned Biarritz arsenic a spectacular wellness and vacation edifice successful the mid-19th century. My inspirational spot lies beneath: the huge, vaulted crypt, which is utilized arsenic a venue for creation shows. I person exhibited determination galore times and it has an astonishing ambiance. Biarritz is present a large hub for galleries and modern art, and I ever be La Brouillarta, an yearly outdoor creation just connected the seafront. There’s besides a parcours d’oeuvres d’art, a walking way astir the city’s galore frescoes and outdoor sculptures.

Green space

Biarritz’s assets see the sea, the mountains, the countryside and the Spanish border, but we person 3 aureate retrievers, truthful greenish spaces are precise important to us. There are 2 fantastic lakes conscionable extracurricular the city, Lac Mouriscot and Lac Marion. Mouriscot is fashionable with joggers and cyclists: it has wide, chaotic pathways done the woods and plentifulness of benches overlooking the lake. Marion, which is arsenic bully for dogs and families, has a bucolic lakeside path, immoderate areas of marshland, positive tons of mature trees and lawns. Both tin beryllium reached connected bus way 5 from the centre of town, heading past Biarritz’s horse racing track.


La Grande Plage.
La Grande Plage. Photograph: Alamy

Biarritz’s Grande Plage and casino seafront tin go precise crowded successful the summer, truthful it is champion to sojourn retired of season, but the Port des Pêcheurs to the southbound is ever wonderful. Set connected a earthy creek, the protected harbour has a “village” of 65 cabins known arsenic crampottes – whitewashed sportfishing huts built into the rock, with red, bluish oregon agleam greenish shutters. They person hardly changed successful 150 years, though a fewer person been turned into cafes and restaurants. There is simply a 19-year waiting database to rent 1 – you person to ain a vessel and a mooring successful the sportfishing port. The larboard sits beneath the aged whale-watching operation and is the astir authentic and charming agelong of the Biarritz seafront. It has a small beach, and lanes draped with floats, sportfishing nets and the occasional elephantine anchor.

Locals Guide to Biarritz Illustrations by Hennie Haworth strawberry connected  page
Illustration: Hennie Haworth/The Guardian


Le Bar Jean, astatine the bosom of Biarritz’s tapas, paella and beef-eating civilization since the 1930s, stays unfastened until good aft midnight, arsenic bash galore of the pintxos (tapas) bars astir Les Halles market. It’s fashionable to spell from barroom to barroom successful Biarritz, tasting tapas with Basque cider, which is poured into tiny, circular glasses from precocious supra the array truthful the cider becomes aerated, though it is rather sour and vinegary! Or, if you are astatine the formation on the city’s Côte des Basques, it’s lone 100 steps up to Bar Etxola Bibi, a large spot to ticker the sunset with a cocktail and sheet of pintxos.


Close to the beaches and Les Halles, Villa Koegui (doubles from €85, meal €15pp) was renovated this year. It has a stylish lounge, an outdoor terrace and household suites.