In years gone by, Biarritz was the glamorous holiday destination favoured by European royalty and the world’s celebrities. On the Atlantic coast in the South West of France, Biarritz has a surf beach, beautiful weather and the best of the Basque region’s cuisine. What more could you want from a summer holiday destination? Biarritz is the perfect escape for your next family adventure – in this article we give you a few hints and tips to help you get the most out of it.
Village style living
You are going to need at least week to get the most out of your stay in Biarritz. Rent a house – the French do private holiday rentals really well and it gives you much more flexibility in terms of cooking meals and washing your beach towels etc. The other advantage of hiring a house is that you quickly immerse yourself in the ebb and flow of daily life in your Biarritz neighbourhood – pick up your bread from the bakery, call into the deli to grab some cheese and ham, pick up some sausages for breakfast from the butcher. This is a great way for your kids to practice their conversational French as they point and smile and negotiate the requirements of the daily groceries.
Hit the beach
Biarritz is a surfing town. The annual surf festival held there is one of the biggest in Europe. While the main beach (Grand Plage) gets pretty crowded, it’s still a lot of fun making camp in the sand for a few hours and watching the world go by. Biarritz is a great place to learn how to surf, and there are lots of surf schools where you can sign the kids up and watch them as they get out amongst the waves. There are a few other smaller surf beaches nearby, but you can also go for long walks and explore some of the rocky outcrops along the coast.
Explore the region
I recommend hiring a car as there are a lot of interesting excursions in the surrounding region. San Sebastian (just across the border in Spain) is easily accessible, but a fantastic trip to do is to drive up into the mountains to the village of Saint-Jean-PIed-de-Port. The old cobbled streets makes this a really charming town, with the river Nive running through it. The town is an important staging point on the pilgrims’ trail known as The Way of St James – the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. While the kids may not be feeling like a massive pilgrimage, there’s lots of interesting things to check out Sain-Jean-Pied-de-Port to make the drive worthwhile.
There is something about a beach holiday in France that feels incredibly relaxing and a complete world away from the normal hustle and bustle of life. You can eat simple food, do simple things, and just enjoy your time together as a family. Swimming, surfing, exploring, and practising your French. This is what a family holiday should be.