Are you planning to visit or move to the French Basque country? Discover our selection of the best neighbourhoods to stay in Biarritz!
A chic and renowned seaside resort nestled in the Bay of Biscay, Biarritz is the fourth largest city in France‘s Pyrénées-Atlantiques department after Pau, Bayonne, and Anglet. Despite a demographic decline linked to the aging of the population, Biarritz has a population of 24,457 (2015). The European capital of surfing offers a mild year-round climate, impressive waves, as well as a diverse architecture. Set against the Atlantic Ocean along a four-kilometer-long coastline, Biarritz is ideally located, only 25 kilometers from Spain.
This former small fishing village, which became the favorite summertime destination of the Empress Eugénie (wife of Napoleon III) in the 19th century, nowadays attracts visitors and surfers in search of a pleasant summer holiday on the beach. There is a wide range of available accommodation in Biarritz, whether in the city center, in and around the Beau Rivage neighborhood, or even in the Saint-Charles quarter.
Nestled between the beaches of Grande Plage and Plage de Marbella on a sharp-edged cornice home to the impressive Rocher de la Vierge (Rock of the Virgin Mary) overlooking the sea, the city center is an excellent area stay in Biarritz, especially if you want to access everything on foot. An ideal place to shop and contemplate the city’s historic architecture. The city center consists of vast pedestrian areas where you can stroll around in a peaceful, traffic-free zone. Have a drink in one of the authentic bars and restaurants – especially along Mazagran Street and Port-Vieux Street – and indulge in the local, leisurely way of life under the warm sun of the Basque Country.
Don’t miss a walk around the Rocher du Basta, visit the Biarritz Aquarium and the Esplanade de la Vierge, stroll through the Halles, then relax on the beach of Port-Vieux. Don’t forget to stop by the Biarritz Historical Museum before heading further east to the Public Garden for a relaxing break in a green setting. Accommodation rates in this part of Biarritz are rather high: the area is packed with an array of prestigious hotels, high-end apartments, and superb villas on the waterfront.
Are you looking for a place to stay in Biarritz offering something else than classic seaside tourism? Situated behind the Hôtel du Palais, the neighborhood of Saint-Charles offers a village-like ambiance in the heart of the city. Saint-Charles is home to a beautiful Byzantine-style church, designed by the renowned Biarritz architect Tisnés and built in 1892. The church illustrates the past influence of wealthy Russians who settled in Biarritz in the 19th century. So where to stay in Biarritz? North of Queen Victoria Avenue, in the Saint-Charles quarter: this shop-filled area exudes a warm and friendly atmosphere.
La Négresse and Beaurivage
Nestled around Beau Rivage square and the avenue of the same name, the neighborhood of La Négresse adjoins the Beaurivage quarter, which overlooks the Basque coast. For a long time, La Négresse was Biarritz’ working-class quarter. The area has retained its authentic atmosphere and is a convenient neighborhood to stay in Biarritz if you want to enjoy close proximity to the nearby SNCF train station and the Biarritz Pays Basque airport.
Since both neighborhoods have few bars and restaurants, partygoers and nightlife aficionados should aim to stay in Biarritz’ city center. Better suited for visitors in search of a tranquil setting, the neighborhoods of La Négresse and Beaurivage offer close proximity to Lake Mouriscot – surrounded by a 110-hectare wooded natural area – and Lake Marion, in the middle of a 10-hectare park filled with oaks, pines, and willows. These two lakes are frequented by families and sports enthusiasts who prefer to avoid the hustle and bustle of the city center.
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