Biarritz is one of the largest cities on the western coast of France and sits on the edge of the Bay of Biscay. The high waves and exposed area make it a real favourite for surfers looking for the big Atlantic rollers. The city rose to prominence in the 19th century when it became a very popular seaside resort for European royalty and aristocrats. There's evidence of its past in its grand architecture, as well as in the casino that is still open to this day. Renting a car in Biarritz means you'll be able to pop over the border into nearby Spain - and you'll also notice a distinct Basque influence in the region's cuisine.
As you'd expect from somewhere with such close links with the sea, there's an excellent museum called Musée de la Mer. It takes advantage of its location to examine the sea life that can be found along the entire length of the Gulf Stream with aquaria, exhibits and many other educational resources. A second immersion in the aquatic world can also be enjoyed at the Cité De La Ocean. This museum is impossible to miss as it's been designed to look like a giant glass and metal wave rising up from the land. Inside you'll find that it has been divided into 12 different “universes” with each one explaining a particular aspect of the sea and its inhabitants. Biarritz is also famous for its chocolate museum - go along and first you will be welcomed with a free tasting followed by a short film explaining every aspect of its manufacture. The tour is rounded off by visiting exhibits which show just how chocolate is moulded, packed and delivered to the shops. And remember, if you do hire a car in Biarritz don't miss the opportunity to spend a day exploring the nearby Pyrenees on the border with Spain.
Opening hours:Mo-Fr 0800-2300, Sa 0800-2030, Su 0930-2230