It was pouring rain when I landed in Biarritz - the bus took me to the village center (yes - Biarritz is more like a village then a city) and I dove into the temptation to take a small detour to glimpse of the sea. As I look out I see moving black dots - one, two, three turn into close to 50 surfers waiting to catch the next wave. I am instantly under the spell of Biarritz.
I make my way to my tiny rental cottage. Quirkily designed with the spirit of Biarritz, minimal elegant nautical flair with a vintage twist, washed out colours and shutters add flair. The air smells fresh and salty and the thunder of the waves echo throughout the city.
Walk, Bike, Relax
Slow walk on the beach and on the chemins de la forme all the way to the lighthouse for a spectacular view.
Rendez-vous at the Biarritz Tourism Office to pick up my free bike rental and get advice on the best way to Bayonne. Thrilled that there is a bike path most of the way but tempted nevertheless to choose to walk on boardwalk by the sea.
Head back to explore the other side of Biarritz, the rocher de la Vierge, the port des pêcheurs and its charming crampottes, a relaxing beach and surfer heaven.
Explore the local market at les Halles. Fall in love with the mini vegetable versions including potirons:) Fresh cherries and apricots are top features.
Jump on a bus to San Sebastian where many small restos are lined up and packed with travellers sampling what some call the world's best canapé and wine pairings.
Spend the day strolling in the city and on its glorious beaches. Return at dusk to catch the waves. Luckily the sun sets at 10:30pm so this gives me extra time to linger.
Bus to Bidard to take the sentier du Littoral. Discover 14 km of hidden coves, majestic paths and the loveliest refreshment spots. You may even come across a fashion shoot! End up at St Jean de Luz's tranquil beach. Linger in a cold extra salty sea bath amongst the envy of the squirmish.
Spend my last night lazily enjoyjng a spritz on boul. de Prince de Galle and stare at the sea until sunset.
The California of Europe?
Perhaps more of positioning statement to attract the curious like me! The cliff walks, jaw dropping coastlines, surf culture, local cherries and apricots create strong parallels yet the people and beat are radically different. Biarritz and its surroundings do share some airs but clearly stand on their own.