Travel Guide Europe France Aquitaine Biarritz

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Introduction

Coast of Biarritz

Coast of Biarritz

© julesfsmit

Biarritz is a large beachside town on the Bay of Biscay, on the Atlantic coast in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques département of Nouvelle-Aquitaine, in south-west France. It is known for the Hôtel du Palais, built for the Empress Eugénie around 1855, its casinos, and its surfing culture.

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Sights and Activities

Biarritz is famous for its coast and the rocks in the sea. There is the church of Sainte Eugenie, a Russian Orthodox church, and the Museum of the Sea (entrance about €6) with a lot of interesting animals like different kinds of fish, anemones, sharks, and seals in aquariums. Other topics include fishing in the last centuries, birds, catching whales. Then there is a Museum of Asian Art and a lighthouse (entrance €2).

The beaches are excellent and this is a major surf resort. The main beach, Grand Plage, gets very crowded, but there is also a long surfers' beach on the Boulevard du Prince de Galles, called Cote de Basque, that has almost no sand at high tide, but is superb at low tide. The surf beaches at Anglet are easily accessible by bus, and surfboards that aren't too big are allowed on the local buses in the summer at least. There is a small beach by the Esplanade du Porte Vieux that is good for swimming when the surfer's beach is closed.

There are several thalasso-therapy centers, with sea water, seaweed and related treatments.

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Getting There

Biarritz is adjacent to Bayonne and Anglet and 18 km from the border with Spain.

By Plane

Biarritz – Anglet – Bayonne Airport (BIQ) is located about 5 kilometres from Biarritz.
Several airlines serve the airport, with destinations being London, Helsinki, Nice, Lyon, Geneva, Paris, Birmingham, Dublin, Marseille and Amsterdam.

By Train

Paris → Biarritz - About 5 hours via TGV, trains running direct several times a day. There is also a Paris-Biarritz night train service.

By Car

Biarritz is about 7½ hours from Paris, at about 480 miles (775 km). Biarritz is easily accessed via the D911 road, off the N10. These routes are close to the A63 - a road connecting Belin-Béliet to Bayonne to the border of Spain. In a general idea, heading towards Bayonne, and then directing on the local by-roads to Biarritz is the most straightforward route.

By Bus

Buses arrive on square d'Ixelles, in the centre of Biarritz. There are buses from Bayonne, Anglet, Pau, Saint-Jean-de-Luz, Hendaye. Spanish bus company PESA [1] run a twice-daily service (leaving from outside the Biarritz Tourist Office) that follows the coast to San Sebastian and Bilbao in Spain.

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Getting Around

By Public Transport

There is an excellent bus network called Chronoplus, serving Biarritz as well as the neighbouring Anglet and Bayonne (which form a conubation called 'BAB'). Bus journeys are a flat €1 payable in cash on the bus. This ticket is valid for one hour to allow passengers inter-change between bus services and routes.

Cheaper multiple journey tickets are also available from the bus kiosks at Biarritz Mairie (beside the tourist office) and at Bayonne Mairie, but cannot be bought on the bus. These include a 10-journey ticket (€8); a seven-day travel pass (€11); and a 24-hour pass (€2). These tickets are also sold at 39 tobacco shops/cafes in the Biarritz-Anglet-Bayonne (BAB) area.

Bus Line C links the airport with the Biarritz train station at La Negresse and the main Bayonne train station. The slightly less frequent No 8 bus also serves the Airport every 20-30 minutes.

By Foot

Biarritz is very pedestrianised, and it is easy to get around the town centre, to the beaches, and to the best spots for surfing or shopping. This means whatever your holiday needs is a short and pleasant walking distance away. However, it can be quite hilly in places.

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Eat

  • Aux Alizés, ☎ +33 5 59 22 23 52. La Table Basque, 4 av de Marne. Has a very good and Basque-influenced carte and proper 3-course menus at €17 and 22. Closed Tuesday and Wednesday evenings. Many of the more tourist-orientated places have quite poor prix fixe menus.
  • Pizzeria des Arceaux, 20-24 avenue Édouard-VII, ☎ +33 5 59 24 11 47. Pizzas all seem to be either €9.80 or 9.90. An odd pricing scheme, yet the pizzas are very good, as is the fish and the large desserts. Closed Monday.

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Drink

There are several places to go clubbing in Biarritz. One example is a great club called Le Copa located in the centre of the town. At the same place you can find many bars, as a pub crawl night is a must if you visit Biarritz. Another good club is the one under the Casino, and the best thing of all is that it is for free and does not close at two or three o'clock like the bars do.

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Sleep

  • Surf Hostel Biarritz, ☎ +33 5 59 22 55 70. Ave de Migron. Surfer accommodation with bed + breakfast + bike + board all incl. €33.
  • Hostel Biarritz (Hostelling International), 8 Rue Chiquito de Cambo, ☎ +33 5-5941-7600. A bit out of the way.
  • Hôtel Atalaye, 6 rue des Goélands, ☎ +33 5 59 24 06 76. All en-suite hotel, the best rooms (including a few tiny singles) have small balconies and face the place and sea. Singles €35-50, Doubles €42-70, Triples €55-84.
  • Hôtel Gardénia, av Carnot, 05, ☎ +33 5 59 24 10 46. Two-star, old-fashioned and quiet hotel with a mix of rooms, not all with their own bathrooms. Singles €33-57, Twins €49-59, Triples €51-63.
  • Hôtel Maïtagaria, av Carnot, 05, ☎ +33 5 59 24 26 65. Mostly smart rooms in a quiet location, with back garden. Doubles €47-64, Triples €74-80.
  • Hôtel du Palais, 1 Avenue de l'Impératrice, 64200 Biarritz, ☎ +33 5 59 41 64 00. A wife Eugénie, converted into a hotel in 1883. doubles start at €320.
  • Hostellerie Victoria, 12 av de la Reine Victoria, 05.59.24.08.21. More expensive hotel in a Neo-Gothic mansion, huge rooms equipped with comfortable beds and iron bathtubs.

You can use the form below to search for availability (Travellerspoint receives a commission for bookings made through the form)

Booking.com

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Keep Connected

Internet

France is one of the best connected countries in the world, with data speed for upload/download ranked among the top 5 in the world. Most hotels and hostels would have in-house facilities to provide free internet access. Many major cities also have initiatives put in place to provide free wi-fi connection in public spaces. Alternatively there are internet cafés available in most cities/towns at a reasonable rate. Some private businesses, such as local cafés (or even the Starbuck's chain), may also provide wi-fi connectivity - keep an eye out for the signs by the shop windows/doors. Also look for the @ symbol prominently displayed, which indicates internet availability. However, with most homes now wired for the internet, cyber cafés are increasingly hard to find, especially outside the major cities.

Phone

See also: International Telephone Calls

To dial an international number from France, the IDD is 00, followed by the country code that you wish to dial, the area code and the phone number.
To call France from abroad, start with the international direct dialing (IDD) code from the country you're in, followed by French country code 33, the area code (drop the first zero in front of the area code), and the phone number. French telephone numbers are rarely given without the area code. The telephone number, including the area code, is made up of 10 digits. They are written in a set of 5 pairs of digits (i.e. 01 xx xx xx xx xx).
In France, the area code designations are: 01 - Paris Area ("Région Ile-de-France"), 02 - northwest, 03 - northeast, 04 - southeast, 05 - southwest, 06 - mobile phone providers. From 2010 onwards, 07 will also be assigned to mobile phone providers in order to cater for the surging demands for mobile phones.

Emergency numbers are 15 (medical aid), 17 (police station) and 18 (fire/rescue). You can also use the European emergency number 112 (perhaps a better choice if you don't speak French). These calls are free and accessible from virtually any phone, including locked cellphones.

France uses the GSM standard of cellular phones (900 MHz and 1800 MHz bands) used in most of the world outside of the U.S. There are several companies (Orange, SFR, Free, Bouygues Télécom and some others MVNOs like Virgin Mobile) offering wireless service. The country is almost totally covered but you may have difficulties using your mobile phone in rural or mountainous areas. If you stay for some time, it may be advisable to buy a pre-paid cell phone card that you can use in any phone that supports the GSM standard on the 900/1800 MHz bands. Then incoming calls and SMSes are free.

Post

La Poste in France is also referred to as the PTT (short for postes, télégraphes et téléphones). The mailboxes are painted bright yellow and often there is a slot for local city mail and another slot for "outside mail". Normally there is a queue in the post office, but most of the post offices have the self service machine installed which is quite easy to operate. Nowadays many of the tabac and even some of the souvenir shops also sell postage stamps. Normally an overseas postcard costs almost as much as sending a letter. Mails sent in France also have a zip code. The first two numbers represent the administrative department (e.g. in Paris' case that would be 75).

Post offices are generally open from 8:00am to 7:00pm Monday through Friday, and 8:00am to noon on Saturdays. Apart from the basic job of mailing letters, most of the post offices do some banking activities also and some even have photocopy machines and cyber cafes for internet access.

For international package services, you might also check options with companies like DHL, UPS or TNT, which have competitive services and prices and might be faster in most cases.

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Accommodation in Biarritz

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This is version 7. Last edited at 12:03 on May 15, 19 by Utrecht. 7 articles link to this page.

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