A day at the beach restores the soul

Biarritz, known as the surfing capital of France, is a cosmopolitan, historic seaside town on the French Atlantic coast. It has blossomed from small whaling post into a renowned holiday destination and the vibrant town is now home to surfers and urban escapees and stars alike.

But it has not always been this way. Since Napoleon III discovered the town in the mid 19th century and built a palace for his wife Eugenie on the main beach it has been the playground of the aristocracy and famous. Frank Sinatra and Bill Cosby used to vacation here among others, their presents giving Biarritz an air of luxurious elegance. Today the palace is a five star hotel and spa, yet is still frequented by the rich and famous, from presidents to hip hop artists.

As the New York Times wrote:
“Biarritz has been transformed from what was once a resort for bourgeois retirees into a breezy bohemian outpost that has come to be called “The French California”. It’s sunnier, friendlier and more rough-hewn than much of France, tied by its hardy Basque roots to its Spanish neighbours just over the border”.

One thing though will never change about Biarritz: the ocean, its tide and its waves set the agenda here. All year round, barefoot surfers run through the town’s narrow streets, off to catch perfect waves.

The landscape of Biarritz is more dramatic than that of the Mediterranean coast – here sea cliffs and constant waves merge with sandy beaches. On open terrace bars and restaurants, tapas and homemade sangria can be savoured, while watching surfers paddle out into picture-postcard sunsets. In the small fishing port, where colourful wooden boats hide among craggy rocks, the smells of the ocean mingle with that of freshly grilled sardines.

At the covered food market, discussions are loud and the gestures large. Among the vegetables, fresh fish, pastries, oysters and wine, locals meet and share “la belle vie”. It’s not unusual to hear spontaneously Basque songs erupt from the mêlée of people or see grandparents taking their grandchildren out for a Sunday aperitif.
The atmosphere in Biarritz is unique; a mix of aristocracy, laidback surf culture and deep Basque traditions, sprinkled with the odd fashionista. It is a place where high life meets bro life, formal meets casual and young mingles with old.

Biarritz isn’t just a holiday destination; it’s a way of life.


Biarritz enjoys a mild, humid oceanic climate throughout the year, mainly as a result of the influence of the Gulf Stream. During summer season it’s pleasantly warm rather than oppressively hot like the Mediterranean coast or Provence. Winters are mild and partly wet, but it’s not unusual to have warm and sunny days, which make Biarritz a holiday destination all year around.

High °C81011121821242424201513
Low °C567811141617151286
Sea °C131313131619212221181614
How to get here:

Biarritz airport is situated 4 km from the city center with makes it very comfortable to travel to Biarritz. Half an hour after landing you can be at the beach surfing or sunbathing. It’s easy to grab a taxi ( ) at the airport or take one of the buses that goes into town (

The airport is operated by several airlines, with a peak during summer season. In winter it can be more tricky to reach the town but luckely there are a few nearby airports: San Sebastian (40 min), Bilbao (1h30) and Bordeaux (2h).
Biarritz can also easily get reached by train: Example Paris 5h