The magic of the Biarritz coast

Biarritz
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The magic of the Biar ...

The magic of a destination is never as intense as when you let yourself be carried away by its atmosphere and its rhythm. Nestled in the hollow of the Bay of Biscay , Biarritz is a must-see on the Basque coast with its great beaches , its waves that attract surfers from all over the world, its trendy boutiques , its art galleries and its relaxed atmosphere throughout the year. A stroll along the bustling coastline of Biarritz, nicknamed the “ queen of beaches and kings beach ” will give you one of the best glimpses of the city. A real invitation to stroll which offers the walker an astonishing diversity of oceanic landscapes . On the program: the Côte des Basques , the Villa Belza , the Rocher de la Vierge , the small fishing port , the large beach , the impressive Biarritz lighthouse … All this on foot, by bike, and even by skateboard!

Biarritz

The Basque coast in the last light of the day

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Biarritz, the ocean inscribed in the urban landscape  

Discovering the most urban of the Basque Coast seaside resorts out of season, when all holidaymakers (or almost) have returned, is not lacking in attractions. A paradise for surfers , we are also here in the kingdom of contemplatives , epicureans who let themselves be captivated by the beauty of the coast , their eyes riveted on the ocean. Ambassador of a lifestyle that promotes freedom, the spirit of skiing and the culture of surfing, the city of Biarritz is known for its relaxed lifestyle all year round and for its breathtaking views of the Pyrenees , the Spain and the Atlantic

Biarritz

Bucolic escape along the coast  

Take a walk without ever taking your eyes off the ocean . Recharge. Breathe the iodized air at the top of your lungs. Stop along the coast for a coffee, a seafood platter or Basque cold meats. To contemplate the surfers tame the waves which break on the coast ... Biarritz is discovered with its nose in the wind, the mood wandering. Here no imposed route, by chronology to be respected, nor route. If you are visiting Biarritz for the first time, its coastline is dotted with curiosities . If you are used to the place, these emblematic landmarks are anchored in landscapes which, in turn, change according to the seasons and the tides. Head for an invigorating 3 km walk , following the path laden with spray that winds along the coast of Biarritz. The opportunity to capture behind the lens these magical landscapes worthy of the most beautiful postcards.

Biarritz

The Côte des Basques, stormy and wild

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A natural promontory
framed by cliffs, adorned with green gardens facing the ocean, the Côte des Basques is the wildest part of the Biarritz coast. The beach of the Basques , below, is difficult to access, generally used by surfers who face the powerful waves in front of the admiring eyes of the walkers who skirt the Boulevard du Prince de Galle and take in the view. Facing due west, the Côte des Basques is renowned for its plunging view of the sunset and for the panoramic terraces of its bars and restaurants with a warm atmosphere (L'Extola Bibi, the Bar de la Côte des Basques or the Surfing ).

The Villa Belza, unusual and majestic  

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Biarritz

Perfectly photogenic, nestled between the rocky points of the pedestrian promenade on the seafront, the mysterious Villa Belza is a real eye-catcher with its look of an atypical fortress overlooking the waves. Emblematic monument of Biarritz, its remarkable silhouette drawn on a rectangular plan is equipped with a medieval keep and a turret in pepperbox. It was built between 1880 and 1895 by Ange Dufresnay, the managing director of the insurance company “le Phénix” in Paris in homage to his wife Marie Belza Dubreuil. Become a restaurant in 1923 under the name of "Basque Castle" , the Villa Belza is the meeting point of the Russian aristocracy exiled during the Roaring Twenties. In 1940, the villa fell into the hands of the German army, requisitioned to defend the old port. After the liberation, it was transformed into apartments, suffered fires followed by renovations to regain its former splendor. Today listed in the "Zone of Protection of Urban and Landscape Architectural Heritage" , the charm of Lady Belza still amazes as much. A magical show at dusk! 

Biarritz

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We cross the Pont du Diable above the picturesque hole of the Trou du Diable to reach the beach of Port-Vieux, overlooked by the splendid Villa Le Goéland . Built in 1903 in Bidache stone, brick and half-timbered frames, this guest house overlooks the Plateau de l'Atalaye . Continuing our walk along the coast, we approach the Rocher de la Vierge , a must-see pilgrimage from Biarritz. 

Biarritz
Villa le Goéland

Biarritz


Port-Vieux beach  

The Rock of the Virgin, spiritual and enchanting

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Biarritz    Biarritz

Former peninsula located between the Port-Vieux and the Port des Pêcheurs , the Rocher de la Vierge appears as a muse on all postcards and photos of the city of Biarritz. And for good reason. Perched on its rock, the cast iron statue of the Virgin erected at its summit in 1865, gracefully watches over the entire bay of Biarritz. To enjoy a spectacular view of the entire coastline, from the Biarritz lighthouse in the north to the foothills of the Pyrenees in the south, we access this natural curiosity by a metal footbridge. To do absolutely!

We continue our discovery towards the point of view of Atalaye

Biarritz

This observation point perched on a plateau offers a magnificent panoramic view of the Grande Plage. Further on, a stop is required at the Port des Pêcheurs , a small rustic village in the shape of a horseshoe in the heart of the city. Take the time to stroll along the crampottes , these typical fishermen's huts, aligned, from which escape the enticing smells of grilled fish to taste. Authentic atmosphere guaranteed!  

La Grande Plage, immense and heterogeneous

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The contemplation of this long strip of fine sand, open to the ocean, plunges us into the city's past to relive its special history. Originally a simple small fishing village , Biarritz distinguished itself during the Second Empire by becoming a renowned spa and seaside resort , a momentum initiated by Napoleon III and the Empress Eugenie who built her palace there in the 1860s. you of the French, Russian and British aristocracy, the city developed thanks to the pleasures of sea bathing , thermal treatments and the birth of seaside tourism at the turn of the 20th century. Today bathers, families and surfers replace the fashionable women of this era, who can be imagined elegantly dressed, sitting on chairs at the beach, protecting themselves from the sun with parasols. Between the Hôtel du Palais and the Hôtel Le Bellevue , a promenade runs along the Grande Plage, the Casino Barrière and the villas that rival each other in originality. The Allée Winston Churchill, on the seafront, offers a breathtaking view of the Rocher de la Vierge, the rocks of the Roche Plate , the Roche Ronde and the Frégate , leading us inevitably to the Lighthouse of Biarritz , the final destination of this walk along the coast.  

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The Biarritz Lighthouse, colossal and protective  

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Biarritz    Biarritz

When light, colors and magic come together to illuminate its sparkling white conical tower, the refined aestheticism of the Biarritz lighthouse leaves no one indifferent. Unmissable monument in the city's landscape, this immense sentry has watched over the sailors who approached the land since its construction in 1834. From its esplanade, popular with lovers of sunsets, the bird's eye view of Biarritz is breathtaking. This grandiose setting, where the colors of the sea and the sky merge, comes alive to the rhythm of the light beams from the lighthouse which sweep the surroundings for 48 kilometers around! 73 meters above sea level, you can once again climb the 248 steps that separate you from the top of the lighthouse from December 2020 in order to enjoy a 360-degree view of the sandy coast of the Landes at north and on the rocky coast of the Basque Country. A magnificent viewpoint not to be missed! 


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Article and photos prepared by Lesley Williamson



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