Check out our top 10 places to eat and drink in Biarritz:
For seafood, don’t miss Biarritz’s bijou Port des Pecheurs, a buzzy clutch of old fishermen’s huts that have been turned into cafés and restaurants. One of the most charming is the tiny Crampotte 30. Take a seat on its small terrace, sip a glass of txakoli (a lightly sparkling Basque wine) and make your choice from a simple menu of pintxos. 30 Allée Port des Pêcheurs, 00 33 5 35 46 91 22
Café du Commerce
For a more decadent midday meal, head to one of the bistros in the streets around Biarritz’s market hall. The Café du Commerce is a good bet with its sharing plates (try a charcuterie board with goose-liver pâté, chorizo and serrano ham), freshly-caught fish and southwestern favourites including duck and bayonne ham. 1 Rue des Halles, 00 33 5 59 41 87 24
For a quick bite, head to the town’s market hall, Halles-Biarritz (open 7am-1pm), where stalls offer a bounty of regional produce. Pick up dry-cured bayonne ham, local wines or pintxos, a Basque take on tapas.
La Tantina de Burgos
Head to bistro La Tantina de Burgos for traditional Basque dishes, eaten at gingham-clothed tables. Friendly staff serve plates of freshly caught fish and hearty stews, including axoa, a veal stew flavoured with piment d’espelette. 2 Place Beau Rivage, 00 33 5 59 23 24 47
Snap up a box of local macarons at one of Biarritz’s favourite chocolateries, Pariès. Known as mouchous, which means ‘kiss’ in Basque, they come in five flavours: almond, pistachio, chocolate, praline and coffee.
Planète Musée du Chocolat
Biarritz and neighbouring Bayonne are known as centres of chocolate production. Shop your way around the town’s many chocolateries then stop off at Planète Musée du Chocolat, a museum dedicated to teaching you everything you ever wanted to know about chocolate.
Mille et Un Fromages
Cheese lovers will be beside themselves at Mille et Un Fromages, a tiny shop that offers a huge choice of cheeses from all over France, as well as chutneys, jams, oils, mustards and wines to enjoy with them. Try the local cheese ossau-iraty, or barousse from the Pyrénées. 8 Avenue Victor Hugo, 00 33 55 9 24 06 87
That the Patisserie Miremont has been drawing a loyal following since the 19th century is little wonder once you try its confections. Order the house speciality, a chocolate mousse cake called Le Beret Basque that was created to console the wives of WWI soldiers.
For French store cupboard staples head to the Maison Arostéguy, a smart grocery offering a huge variety of Basque products in stylish jars and tins. Pick up mustards, oils and vinegars, and regional tipples such as izarra, a liqueur made with armagnac and honey.
The former summer house of Napoleon III and Empress Eugenie is now the majestic Hôtel du Palais in Biarritz. Dine in its elegant restaurant, Villa Eugenie, beneath antique chandeliers, enjoying a traditional menu; highlights include the local gâteau Basque, a rich tart made with almonds and cherries.
How to do it
Return fights from Gatwick or Luton to Biarritz cost from around £70 (easyjet.com), and from Southampton or Birmingham, around the same (flybe.com). Double rooms at the Hôtel de Silhouette cost from €99, room-only (hotel-silhouette-biarritz.com). More info: tourisme.biarritz.fr
Journalist Carolyn Boyd is a France expert and the author of the forthcoming cookbook From the Source – France (£19.99, Lonely Planet)
Images | Alamy, Hemis | Alamy, River Thompson