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Biarritz itinerary: What you should see and do in this former royal resort

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Visit Biarritz in France
Biarritz, France
Photo of Biarritz by  Daniel Villafruela/Wikimedia

Biarritz is a posh seaside town, nestled on the southwestern Basque coast of France. It started out as a fishing village and was later known as a popular resort for European royalty in the 1800s. Biarritz still retains that royal flair. However, with its long, sandy beaches, it is also a great surfing location. There are many surf schools here, making the resort ideal for both experienced and beginner surfers.

The following is a selection of places you should go and attractions you should see during your visit to Biarritz.

1. Rocher de la Vierge

Rocher de la Vierge, Biarritz, France
Rocher de la Vierge by unnamed/Wikimedia

This symbol of Biarritz is a statue of the Virgin Mary, built in 1865, perched on a rocky outcrop. The statue can be accessed along the beach pathway through lovely gardens and then via a footbridge, often surrounded by crashing waves, and gives visitors amazing views over the Bay of Biscay. Originally the footbridge was wooden, but was later changed to a metal footbridge. There is also a tunnel going under the outcrop which leads to an observation area with great views across the beaches and the statue.

2. Le Musée de la Mer (aquarium)

Le musee de la Mer aquarium in Biarritz, France
Photo Le Musée de la Mer by Pxhere
A must-visit while enjoying a stay in a Biarritz holiday villa or apartment is Le Musée de la Mer or Aquarium of Biarritz which was first opened in 1933. The art deco style building was renovated in 1992 to extend the collection of marine animals. 

The aquarium has recently been renovated again to give more space and attractions. Here you can walk through glass tunnels and see coral-reef fish, sharks and eagle rays swimming around. You can enjoy the fun seal-feeding times. 

You can also enjoy relaxing in an acoustic chair while watching a film about whales, while listening to their mysterious song.

A friendly seal at the Musee de la Mer in Biarritz, France
Photo by MuseeMer/Wikimedia

3. Cite de l'Ocean et du Surf (marine museum)

Cite de l'Ocean et du Surf, Biarritz, France
Sculpture outside the Museum of Ocean and Surf/Pxhere

Cite de l'Ocean et du Surf or Museum of Ocean and Surf is in an impressive, award-winning building, designed by Steven Holl Architects. The museum offers a virtual reality surf experience, allowing those you have always wanted to surf a unique thrill, while experienced surfers can also enjoy the experience. Wearing a virtual reality headset, you are literally placed in the shoes of the surfer. Your challenge is then to keep on the board as long as you can. Try out the Bathyscaphe, where you will wear 3D glasses and head down into the depths of the sea. As can be seen in the video below, there is also an exciting skateboarding arena outside the museum.

4. Biarritz History Museum

Learn about the history of Biarritz, right through from when it was a tiny fishing village, to a royal seaside resort, and to the town as it is today. The museum is located in what was formerly an Anglican church and was opened by the Association of Friends of Old Biarritz in 1986.
Visit Biarritz in France
Biarritz, France
Photo by Barry/Wikimedia

In the porch of the building, visitors can see a memorial to the English who were killed during the Napoleonic wars, especially in the battles which occurred in and around the city of Biarritz in 1814. The chancel houses exhibits relating to the Second Empire, including many fascinating objects.

Enjoy your stay in lovely Biarritz, while visiting these attractions and many more.

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Latest update: August 23, 2018