Biarritz on the Basque coast is only about 2 hours by TGV from Bordeaux which makes it the perfect town to spend a couple of days on the beach especially if you don't own a car!
Biarritz is very sophisticated, with lovely old villas, a spectacular grand hotel (that I would happily trade in for a camping site any time) and has the perfect size: with its roughly 30 000 inhabitants, it has just the right amount of crowd you want - not too many, not too few. The fact that the town sports its own galerie lafayette department store shows however how popular a beach resort it is. There are plenty of beaches that, and here it comes, you can get to via a FREE shuttle bus service that runs on top of the local bus service which itself only costs 1 euro! Of course all the buses run on electricity, mon Dieu, this is almost too good to be true!! The money you save this way can be spent on things like gorgeous tartelettes (see below) or ice cream!
There are plenty of view points in Biarritz, for instance the rocher de la Vierge, or the lighthouse on the cliffs overlooking the northern part of the bay. From the main beach, it is about a 30 minute walk to get there, and I recommend going early in the morning to avoid the crowd (though that means you won't get the chance to climb up the lighthouse). Take a pain aux raisins (by far the best one is sold at Christophe Brousse's boulangerie at 33 Avenue de Verdun) with you for breakfast, and a thermos with tea!
So, am I the only person to find this photo, ahm, well, slightly awkward? At least my inner teenager with puberty in full bloom chuckles and giggles at it...
At the main beach, you can rent little striped umbrella-tents and this again is something I really like about France. In Warnemünde, they rent out Coca Cola umbrellas, in Biarritz, even the umbrellas come in style!
So, what to do with all the money you save because you can take the free bus shuttle service? My unbiased recommendation, ach, well, no, I'll let the drill master sergeant out: You have to absolutely invest that money in patisserie-pieces of art from the legendary Miremont patisserie! This little tartellette aux pommes, which Miremont calls "Golden" was probably one of the best things I have ever eaten! I truly felt like I had the whole world in my hand (sorry by the way for giving you a horrible catchy tune that you will sing in your head for the rest of the day... ...) when I was holding it up for the photo on the beach! It comes with slightly, slightly caramelized apples with vanille, underneath that an almond cream with hints of calvados, topped with delicious, crumbly shortcrust squares and a slice of dried apple. As with all good things in life, you discover them too late - I had the first and only one the day I left... otherwise, it would have been a staple while being in Biarritz. Miremont by the way also has a salon de thé with huge windows that open to a breathtaking view of the ocean, so in the unlikely event of heavy rain, this is the place you want to go to in Biarritz!
copyright of all photos j.