Biarritz, France

Biarritz has been on-trend since Napoleon III holidayed there with his wife Eugenie in the 19th century. Also one of the best surf spots in Europe, it attracts a curious mixture of cashed-up European glamourists and bohemian surfers.

Population: 27,595

Language: French and Basque, with a little Spanish and English

Nationalities: French, surfers, wealthy Europeans & tanned expats

Surf report: Major surf destination with six beaches, offering rights, lefts, beach breaks and point breaks. Popular with everyone from amateurs to professionals.

Cookie-cutter must sees: feeling serious? Here’s the serious sights:

La Cote des Basques – A beautiful Biarritz beach and a favourite with tourists.

Rocher de la Vierge – Cross the bridge over the surf and get underneath the Virgin Mary (statue in the middle of the ocean) through the tunnel that leads to the viewing area. Definitely a selfie-worthy spot.

Cité del l’Océano – Part aquarium, part museum and part amusement park, this is the place to go if you wanna hang out with little tourist kids and learn about the ocean. In July and August they run a free shuttle to Musée de la Mer aquarium.

Port des Pecheurs – Treat yourself to some fresh seafood at this quaint fishing port, a short stroll from the main beach. Ain’t nothing fishy about it except the food.

Planète Musée du Chocolat – Yes, this is a chocolate museum. What does that mean? You get to learn about chocolate, stare at chocolate, dribble a little, and then try some.

Roxy Jam – An all-gurfer (yup, not a typo – that’s girl surfer….) comp held in mid-July. Bonjour, Stephanie Gilmore.

The alternative cool shit: feeling avant-garde? Here’s the Stoke choices:

Big Festival – As the name suggests, a big [music] festival attracting major international acts, mid-July each year.

Shop at 64 – You will probably arrive and realise that you are the least stylish person in Biarritz. Rectify this by paying a visit to a 64 store, a label set-up by local designers much cooler than you.

Prehistoric Caves of Sare – Are massive, old and filled with bats. If you enjoy the slightly creepier things in life, you’ve just found your haven.

Visit Biarritz Photo – This shop is owned by prolific Serbian photographer Jerome Dimitri, who made his name photographing European celebrities and royalty during Biarritz’s 1960s heydays. You may as well look at these people, because you will certainly never touch them, peasant.

Jump aboard the Stoke Surfari – We can either teach you how to surf or admire your already mad skills. Either way, you’ll enjoy the ready supply of new friends/lovers, plus a surf guide, booze, a place to sleep, food and transport to different surf spots along the Basque coast of France and Spain.

Under no circumstances does Stoke recommend…(nudge nudge, wink wink)

Hooking up with a surf instructor for unlimited free lessons.

Following the coast north from the main beach (Grande Plage) to find the ports and jumping off the bridges – very dangerous. Your mom wouldn’t like it.

No seriously, Stoke does not recommend:

Tourist trap fish restaurants – walk a little further and get more bang for your Euro.

Going in the height of summer if you’re on a budget. Prices are seasonal and they will rise like the temperatures. Unless you go with us in which case, prices are fixed at incredibly affordable if we do say so ourselves.

Getting white-girl/boy wasted. Biarritz is a mix of classy and chill. You should at least pretend you are, too. Or you fail at that, fail epicly so you’ll never be forgotten. Give those Frenchies something to titter about!

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