© Creative Commons / Jaume Meneses'
Biarritz is one of the most famous and glamorous resorts on the French coast, with kilometres of golden sandy beach and a cornucopia of watersports. During the last 50 years the resort has become something of a Mecca for surfers, who flock here to ride the famous Basque coast waves. Away from its beaches, Biarritz rewards visitors with imposing fin-de-siècle architecture, a smattering of decent museums and luxurious spas, not to mention the 10 golf courses that are located nearby. Biarritz also boasts very good restaurants and myriad bars and cafés where alfresco drinking is de rigueur.
Biarritz boasts some of the best and busiest beaches on France's southwest coast. In summer holidaymakers might struggle to find their own patch of golden sand on the main Grande Plage beach, as this is the place to see and be seen. Hire a sun lounger, try the myriad watersports on offer or simply lie back and soak up the sun's rays. Surfers should head to the Côte des Basques beach, which in July every year hosts one of the world's biggest surf festivals.
Discover the resort's architectural treasures including the 12th-century Church of St Martin (rue St-Martin) and the Russian Orthodox Church (8 avenue de l'imperatrice). Complete a stroll along the waterfront promenade, Quai de la Grande Plage, with a sneaky peak inside the palatial Hotel du Palais, or with an alfresco espresso in the attractive Place Ste Eugenie square. Biarritz's colourful old fishing port and the Rock of the Virgin are also worth seeking out.
Sandy beaches and resort hotels with children's pools and kids' playgrounds make Biarritz a good choice for families. Some hotels operate children's club and babysitting services. Away from the beach the 150 plus species of marine life, including sharks, at the Maritime Museum's aquarium (14 plateau de l'Atalaye) (www.museedelamer.com) enthral kids.
The nearby twin resort towns of Saint Jean De Luz and Cibourne boast a handful of attractive buildings, a working fishing port and a hard-to-beat river and seaside setting. After exploring Cibourne's Basque architecture or splashing about on Saint Jean De Luz's beach, join the holidaymakers and locals from Biarritz and Bayonne that flock to the resort's first-rate seafood restaurants.
Indulge yourself with a stress relieving massage or rejuvenating facial at the Hotel du Palais' LeSpa (1 avenue de l'imperatrice) (www.hotel-du-palais.com). Part and full day pampering packages are also available to complete an unforgettable holiday experience. Alternatively why not check in or enjoy a first-class meal in the elegant La Rotonde sea view restaurant?