Biarritz is as smart as it gets. A fishing village adopted by the Empress Euguenie in the 19th Century, it became the resort of kings and the playground of the fashionably rich, including Edward VII and later the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. Take a walk along the ‘grande plage’ and surprisingly (perhaps) the outdoor cafes on the promenade serve good coffee at reasonable prices.  The hotel ‘Grande Palais at the northern end of the Grande Plage serves coffee but only to royalty, oligarchs and arab princes!  The coastal walkways above the beach are decked with hydrangeas and it’s well worth a stroll past the old port (stopping for lunch by the harbour) before climbing up into town to take in the shops.  Anyone with a brand worth its salt has to be in Biarritz so you could buy that nice pair of Gucci handmade shoes or the Prada bag you’ve always wanted!biarritz_vierge


Biarritz means two rocks in the Basque language, and the resort is named after the two rocks which stand either side of the bay and which encompass two famous beaches – La Reine des Plages (Queen’s) and la Plage du Roi (King’s).

Further along westward is Milady Plage where there is good parking and some excellent (level) walks alongside the beach.