779km (484 miles) SW of Paris; 193km (120 miles) SW of Bordeaux
One of the most famous seaside resorts in the world, Biarritz was once a fishing village. Favored by Empress Eugénie, the village near the Spanish border soon attracted her husband, Napoleon III, who truly put it on the map. Later, Queen Victoria showed up often, and her son, Edward VII, visited more than once.
In the 1930s, the Prince of Wales (before he was, and then wasn't, Edward VIII) and the American divorcée he loved, Wallis Simpson, did much to make Biarritz more fashionable as they headed south with these instructions: "Chill the champagne, pack the pearls, and tune up the Bugatti." Biarritz became the pre-jet set's favorite sunning spot. Although those legendary days are long gone, the resort is still fashionable and has become the surfing capital of France, with plenty of surf shops, snack bars, and even some reasonably priced hotels.