Along the seafront facing the Casino is the Grande Plage. During the Belle Epoque, this was where Victorian ladies promenaded under parasols and wide-brimmed veiled hats. Today’s bathers are more likely to be in wetsuits or surfy combos.
Promenade du Bord de Mer, along the coast within the city limits, is still a major attraction. The paths are often carved into cliffs, and sections have been designed as rock gardens with flowers, turning the area into a public park. From here, you can head north to Pointe St-Martin, where you’ll find more gardens and a staircase (look for the sign DESCENTE DE L’OCEAN) leading you to allée Winston-Churchill, a paved path going along Plage Miramar.
La Perspective de la Côte des Basques, a walk that goes up to another plateau, leads to one of the wildest beaches in France: Plage de la Côte des Basques, with breakers crashing at the base of the cliffs. This is where serious surfers head. It’s easy to hire a surfboard for a few hours or to get a lesson, but if you don’t want to surf yourself, find a cafe and enjoy a few hours people watching.
If you like calmer beaches, the safest is the small, horseshoe-shaped Plage du Port-Vieux, along the path from plateau de l’Atalaye. Its tranquil waters, protected by rocks, make it a favorite with families.
Biarritz also has 10 golf courses within a short drive of the town. A good practice setting is the Center d’Entraînement d’Ilbarritz-Bidart, av. du Château, Bidart 64210 (www.golfilbarritz.com; tel. 05-59-43-81-30); you can play nine holes for 34€ to 44€.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.