Beach and casino
|• Mayor (since 2014)||Michel Veunac|
|Area1||11.66 km2 (4.50 sq mi)|
|• Density||2,200/km2 (5,600/sq mi)|
|INSEE/Postal code||64122 / 64200|
|Elevation||0–85 m (0–279 ft)|
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.2 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.
Biarritz (French pronunciation: [bjaʁits]; Basque: Biarritz [biarits̻] or Miarritze [miarits̻e]; Gascon Occitan: Biàrritz [ˈbjarits]) is a city on the Bay of Biscay, on the Atlantic coast in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques department in southwestern France, 35 kilometres (22 mi) from the border with Spain. It is a luxurious seaside tourist destination known for the Hôtel du Palais, originally built for the Empress Eugénie around 1855, its casinos, and its surfing culture.
Biarritz is located in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques department in the Aquitaine region. It is adjacent to Bayonne and Anglet and 35 kilometres (22 mi) from the border with Spain. It is in the traditional province of Labourd in the French Basque Country.
Biarritz has long made its fortune from the sea, as a whaling settlement from the 12th century onwards. In the 18th century, doctors recommended that the ocean at Biarritz had therapeutic properties, inspiring patients to make pilgrimages to the beach for alleged cures for their ailments.
Biarritz became more renowned in 1854 when Empress Eugenie (the wife of Napoleon III) built a palace on the beach (now the Hôtel du Palais). European royalty, including British monarchs Queen Victoria and King Edward VII (who caused a minor scandal when he called H. H. Asquith to kiss hands at Biarritz in 1908 rather than return to London for the purpose), and the Spanish king Alfonso XIII, were frequent visitors.
Biarritz's casino (opened 10 August 1901) and beaches make the town a notable tourist centre for Europeans and East Coast North Americans. The city has also become a prime destination for surfers from around the world, developing a nightlife and surf-based culture.
At the end of World War II in Europe, the U.S. Army's Information and Educational Branch was ordered to establish an overseas university campus for demobilized American service men and women in the French resort town of Biarritz. Under General Samuel L. McCroskey, the hotels and casinos of Biarritz were converted into quarters, labs, and class spaces for U.S. service personnel. The University opened 10 August 1945 and about 10,000 students attended an eight-week term. This campus was set up to provide a transition between army life and subsequent attendance at a university in the USA, so students attended for just one term. After three successful terms, the G.I. University closed in March 1946 (see G. I. American Universities).
- The Asiatica Museum houses a significant collection of Asian art primarily from India, Nepal, Tibet, and China.
- The Museum of the Sea has 24 aquaria containing sharks and seals.
- The annual Biarritz Surf Festival, founded in 1993 at the Côte des Basques, is one of the premier surf events in Europe and longboarding events in the world.
- St-Martin's Church, constructed in the 12th century, was restored in the middle of the 16th century.
- The Russian Orthodox Church, which was constructed in the 19th century for visiting Russian aristocrats, has its famous blue dome.
- The Chapelle Imperiale built for Empress Eugenie has an intricately decorated roof interior and elegant wall tiling. She also built a palace on the beach which is now the Hôtel du Palais.
- The Museum of Chocolate explains its history and manufacture.
- Two large casinos, the Barrière and the Bellevue, are on the waterfront by the Grande Plage.
Cliffs and lookouts lie to the west of the main beach.
Notre Dame du Rocher. University of Dayton Libraries.
|Climate data for Biarritz-Anglet (altitude 69m, 1981–2010)|
|Record high °C (°F)||23.4
|Average high °C (°F)||12.0
|Average low °C (°F)||4.8
|Record low °C (°F)||−12.7
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||128.8
|Average precipitation days (≥ 1 mm)||13.4||12.0||11.9||13.6||12.9||10.4||8.8||9.6||9.7||12.5||13.0||12.6||140.5|
|Average snowy days||0.8||1.0||0.3||0.1||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.3||0.5||3.0|
|Average relative humidity (%)||77||75||73||77||78||81||80||81||80||78||79||78||78.1|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||100.2||114.1||164.4||169.4||193.7||203.3||209.0||206.8||192.8||141.7||103.8||88.3||1,887.3|
|Source #1: Météo France|
|Source #2: Infoclimat.fr (humidity and snowy days, 1961–1990)|
Surfing in Biarritz is of a world-class standard and first appeared in 1957. The town has a strong surfing culture, and is known worldwide for its surfing scene and the competitions it hosts yearly, including the Quiksilver/Roxy Jam tournament. In July 2011, Biarritz also hosted the Roxy Pro event, a tournament part of the ASP Women's World Tour.
Basque pelota is a very popular sport of the Basque country. Several local and international competitions take place in Biarritz.
The golf course near the lighthouse (Le Phare) was created in 1888 by British residents. In addition, the town has a large circular golf range area on the border with illbaritz.
Biarritz is easily accessible from Paris by France's high-speed train, the TGV, and more regionally from Bordeaux, by TGV or TER. Trains are also available to travel east towards Nice. Night trains regularly depart from Irun, south of Biarritz and pass through the city before heading to Paris during an overnight trip. Many tourists and regulars to the city have begun using the night train to take weekend trips to Biarritz and saving travel time by traveling at night. The Biarritz – Anglet – Bayonne Airport is located about four kilometres from the city. It is near N10 road towards Anglet and is served by airlines from France, the United Kingdom, Spain, Ireland and Germany.
Notable people and popular culture
Biarritz was the birthplace of:
- Ernest Fourneau (1872–1949), chemist
- Arnaud Massy (1877–1950), professional golfer
- Maurice Hankey, 1st Baron Hankey (1877–1963), British civil servant
- Jean Borotra (1898–1994), tennis player
- Maurice Journeau (1898–1999), composer
- Jacques Bergerac (1927 - 2014), actor
- Léopold Eyharts (born 1957), astronaut
- Eugénie de Montijo (1826–1920), the wife of Napoléon III, built the villa Eugénie, today the Hôtel du Palais.
- Aaron Bank (1902–2004), World War II Office of Strategic Services (OSS) agent and co-founder of the U.S. Army's Special Forces Group (later, Green Berets), was a lifeguard and medical (physical) therapist's aide at Biarritz before he enlisted in the army in the late 1930s.
- Aimée de Heeren, born Soto-Maior de Sá (1903–2006) mistress of President Getúlio Vargas, owned the villa La Roseraie, 12 rue Martias, where she spent summers for half a century, receiving kings, heads of state, and many famous guests.
- Pablo de Sarasate (10 March 1844 – 20 September 1908), who was a well known Romantic Era Spanish composer born in Pamplona, Spain, died in this city.
- In 1959, Cadillac Motor Car introduced an upper level trim variant of its Eldorado model, marketed as the Eldorado Biarritz, which remained in production through 1985.
Twin towns/sister cities
- Lee, Sidney (1927). King Edward VII: A Biography. London: Macmillan. pp. 581–582.
- George P. Schmidt and J. G. Umstattd. "The American Army University at Biarritz, France." Bulletin of the American Association of University Professors. Vol. 32, No. 2 (Summer, 1946): 303-316.
- Encyclopaedia of Surfing. Books.google.com.au. Retrieved 2013-05-11.
- "Données climatiques de la station de Biarritz" (in French). Meteo France. Retrieved December 28, 2015.
- "Climat Aquitaine" (in French). Meteo France. Retrieved December 28, 2015.
- "Normes et records 1961-1990: Biarritz-Anglet (64) - altitude 69m" (in French). Infoclimat. Retrieved December 28, 2015.
- Last Updated: 5:28PM BST 13 Aug 2007 (2007-08-13). "Biarritz: summer nights – Telegraph". Telegraph. Retrieved 2009-05-05.
- "News from Biarritz – France". Biarritz.fr. Retrieved 2009-05-05.
- Aimee de Heeren.
- "Twin towns, Biarritz official website". Biarritz.fr. Retrieved 2013-05-11.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Biarritz.|
- Biarritz travel guide from Wikivoyage
- Official website(French)
- Tourist Information Office Biarritz (English)
- Biarritz Real Estate (French) (English)