Another Wednesday, another Wander post revisited. While we still can’t travel (or have to quarantine if we do), it’s nice to look back at places I’ve been, as well as consider places I’d like to go once things go back to whatever normal is going to be. This week I’m wandering to Biarritz, somewhere I visited a few years ago and absolutely loved – the colours of the sea and sky, the rocks and waves, the good food and friendly people. I’ll definitely go back there again, one day…
Last summer, I was fortunate enough to spend some time in Biarritz, located on the French coast. I absolutely loved it – the light, the water, the people, the food – it was just wonderful. I’ve written about it here and here, but for today’s Wander I’m going to go back to the town’s origins as a fishing village, before Napoleon III and Empress Eugenie made it such a fashionable place to be.
For centuries, the principal industry in Biarritz was whaling. It wasn’t until the 18th century that it became known as a town for bathing, and the 19th century when it became fashionable due to the patronage of the Empress.
Nowadays, there are splendid hotels and a casino along the water’s edge but, if you wander a little further along the beach, you come to the old fishing village and harbour, the water clear turquoise against curving ochre rocks.
The old harbour walls remain and are used today – we spent a few minutes there watching a group of men launching a boat into the water. In the mid 1800s, Napoleon III decided he would like to build a large anchor point and sea-wall, connecting a nearby rock to the coastline. A wooden walkway was built between the two, and a statue of the Virgin Mary was placed on top of the rock to watch over the whalers as they returned to harbour.
The sea can get ferocious in these parts, however, and in the 1880s the wooden walkway was replaced by a metal bridge attributed to Gustav Eiffel (known for a rather more famous metal structure bearing his name). Today you can walk out to the rock and take in the glorious views, past archways of stone over dark blue water, sea birds wheeling overhead.
The day we went was warm and hazy, the water calm, though we had heard that the waves can splash as high as the footbridge on more stormy days. Also, I think I may have found my dream house…
The Rocher De La Vierge is easily accessed via the coastal walk that runs along the main beach at Biarritz, past the Casino and town centre and leading to the excellent Aquarium. The views looking back are beautiful, as are those beyond, and the walk itself is quite gentle – I highly recommend it.
Thanks for coming on another Wednesday Wander with me – see you next time!
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That very first photo looks like a profile of Godzilla.
Hahaha! In these times, I wouldn’t be surprised if he (she?) decided to make an appearance…
I could do with being somewhere like that right now…
Me too 🙂
We went on a day trip to Biarritz when I was on a school trip – a pilgrimage to Lourdes. I remember it being so hot I could hardly bare to walk on the sand and being a plump little cherry tomato of a girl, I got pretty ill from the heat. Too much Anglo-Saxon ancestry in me to like the sun! Lovely photos, Helen
Oh Lynn, that’s too cute how you describe yourself 😀 We went to Biarritz in August a few years ago and it wasn’t too bad, heat-wise. But I can see how it could be almost unbearable on the warmest days, especially if you couldn’t go in the sea 🙂
I recognize the beautiful house perched over the ocean. I recognize it because, I’m sorry to say, it is MY dream house. Lol. Kidding. Isn’t it absolutely gorgeous?
Hahaha! It really is 🙂 And, I think, big enough to divide into two?
Looks like a fabulous spot!!
It is! Looking forward to going back there one day 🙂
Lovely photos, delightful descriptions. Thank you for taking us along! I’ve added this to the list of places I want to visit if I get that far from home some day.
Thank you! I hope you get there one day 🙂 It really is a lovely place to visit