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On visit in Biarritz

Throughout its history, Biarritz has grown in prosperity: since its expansion in the middle of the 19th century under Napoleon, it experienced the charms of La Belle Epoque and Les Années Folles, then the jubilation of the post-war years and the 60s, when it indulged, first in France, in the pleasures of an amazing sport named surf.

Today, Biarritz, with its elite lifestyle, attracts tourists from around the world.

As the city motto says, «I have the winds, the stars and the ocean».

Biarritz is a true paradise for sports lovers.

It features France’s oldest golf course, Golf de Phare, located in the heart of the city.

A true Europe’s golf Mecca, it attracts golfers from around the continent who come here to enjoy an exceptional variety of golf courses and a climate allowing them golfing all year round. The city’s golf development policy resulted in twinning, in 1991, with the world’s golf capital, Augusta, in Georgia (USA).

Nine other courts can be found within 30 km from Biarritz in Arcangues, Makhila (Bayonne), Seignosse, Moliets.

Biarritz is also one of the world’s best surfing spots!

In 1957, Peter Viertel, the husband of actress Deborah Kerrhere, comes to Biarritz for shooting a film, « Le Soleil se lève aussi » («The sun rises too»). When he first appears on the Basque coast beach with his surfing board, the locals are stunned: it’s the first time ever a man catches a wave in Europe! That was how European surf was born and that was how Biarritz became its capital.

Originating from the Hawaii, this sport quickly finds lots of enthusiasts, from the « tontons surfeurs » of the 60s like Joël de Rosnay, Georges Hennebutte or Jo Moraïz, to the young champion Emmanuelle Joly-Thomas. Today, La Grande Plage, known as one of Europe’s best surfing spots, as well as the beaches of the nearby Anglet, attract surfers from around the world.

Since 2006, the city hosts the annual Roxy Jam Women’s Longboard Championship, which takes place on the Basque coast in the beginning of July.

No Biarritz overview would be complete without mentioning rugby and the Biarritz Olympique, an iconic top-14 team. Like all of the south-western France, Biarritz is home to many oval-ball fans and players, like the elegant «15» Serge Blanco, became international star. Having won the France Championship in 2002, 2005 and 2006, the Biarritz Olympique Pays Basque makes the whole city thrill with emotion during each of its matches.

Due to a strong cultural influence of the Basque country, another popular sport in the area is Basque pelota: played bare hand, à chistera or à pala, it features dozens of forms. The most powerful and spectacular is cesta punta, with the pelota’s speed reaching up to 300 km/h. This sport gathers lots of enthusiasts, regularly following the exciting professional competitions of Jaï-Alaï de Biarritz, or Gant d’Or, in summer. Some other traditional Basque contests include Forces Basque, Les Chœurs Basques, etc. The region’s cultural heritage is way too rich to be embraced at one glance.

Biarritz offers visitors most varied range of tourist attractions:

• Set off on a cultural getaway and discover picturesque, typically Basque villages that will certainly win your heart over.
• Thalassotherapy is another traditional local activity. No surprise that Biarritz keeps it alive with a range of thalassotherapy centres set around the hotel.

For cultural manifestations and congresses, the city features three conference centres and an exhibition venue. Don’t miss Biarritz’s most splendid buildings:

• La Gare du Midi and its art-nouveau façade
• The Municipal Casino, housed in a stunning art-déco style building facing the sea
• Le Bellevue Conference and Exhibition Centre

Other local places of interest include The Virgin’s Rock, the Fishermen’s Port, St Martin Church, the Lighthouse, etc. For more information about the city and its many treasures visit http://www.biarritz.fr

The lively Basque coast, with its little jewels of San Sébastian and Hondarribia, is just minutes from Biarritz. We invite you to learn more about this Euskaidi Country