Biarritz (Биарриц)

Until the late 19th century,
when sea-bathing came into
vogue, Biarritz was just a
small whaling port. This new
trend, fuelled by expansion of
the railways and the town’s
popularity with Napoleon III
and Empress Eugénie, led to
its discovery by the wider
world. Since then, Biarritz,
with its elegant villas, has
attracted a cosmopolitan
crowd, who come to surf and
enjoy a little luxury.

 

Погода в Биарритце:

 

Exploring Biarritz
The resort’s famous Grande
Plage (Great Beach) stretches
out in front of the casino, an
Art Deco building dating from
1924. On the right stands the
impressive Hôtel du Palais,
built in the early 20th century
on the site of Villa Eugénie,
the former imperial residence.
In the distance is the Phare de
la Pointe Saint-Martin. The
248 steps in this lighthouse
lead up to the lantern, from
where there is a panoramic
view, stretching all the way
from Anglet to the Landes.
Plage Miramar, an extension of Grande Plage, is backed by
luxurious Belle Époque villas,
the finest of which are Villa San
Martino and Villa Casablanca.
The Russian Orthodox church
in avenue de l’Impératrice was
built in the late 19th century.
Further along is an exhibition
space known as Le Bellevue,
in the Empire style, which has
an Art Deco rotunda. The
fishing harbour, created in
1870, sits in a sheltered inlet
above which stands the Église
Sainte-Eugénie.
The city’s emblem is the
Rocher de la Vierge, which is
connected to the promenade
by an iron walkway built by
Alexandre Eiffel. The rock is
crowned by a statue of the
Madonna. The Villa Belza,
built 1895, looks out to sea.
It is an unusual house with a
turret and a peaked roof. The
Plage du Port-Vieux, south of
the rocks, leads on to the
Côte des Basques.

Chapelle Impériale
Rue Pellot. Tel (05) 59 22 37 10. #
Jul–Aug: Tue, Thu, Sat pm; during rest
of year, call for opening times. & 8
This chapel on place Sainte-
Eugénie is dedicated to Our
Lady of Guadalupe, Mexico’s
Black Madonna. It was commissioned
by Empress Eugénie
in 1864. The exterior is in a
combination of Byzantine
Romanesque and Moorish
styles, which were in vogue during the Second Empire. The
interior has a painted ceiling,
exposed beams and azulejos
(Moorish-style tiles) made at
the Sèvres factory.

Musée de la Mer
Plateau de l’Atalaye. Tel (05) 59 22
33 34. # Apr–Oct: daily; Nov–Mar:
Tue–Sun. ¢ two weeks in Jan. &
In a 1935 Art Deco building,
this museum describes the
Gulf of Gascony’s marine life.
It has several aquariums and
displays on fishing. Visitors can
watch seals swim underwater.

Musée Historique
Rue Broquedis. Tel (05) 59 24 86 28.
# Tue–Sat. & 8
The history of Biarritz, from
small fishing village to highclass
resort, is covered by this
museum, in a former church.

Phare de la Pointe
Saint-Martin
Tel (05) 59 22 37 10. # Jul–Aug. &
Built in 1834, the lighthouse
is 73m (240ft) high. Climbing
the 248 steps to the top is
worthwhile for the view of
the rocky Basque coastline.

High Society in Biarritz

In the late 19th century, when
Napoleon III and Empress Eugénie
were putting Biarritz on the map as
a coastal resort, the Second Empire
gave way to the Belle Époque. It
was then that Biarritz became
an upper-class resort with a
lively nightlife. Full of newly
built Art Nouveau and Art Deco
buildings, it held great allure
for many prominent people,
from both France and abroad.
President Sadi Carnot and
prime minister Georges Clemenceau and the writers Émile Zola
and Edmond Rostand spent summer
holidays here, and Sissi, or Elizabeth
of Austria, came in search of a cure
for her world-weariness. In the
early 20th century, the town’s
casinos drew such celebrities as
Sarah Bernhardt and the couturier
Jean Patou. After World War II,
the Marquess of Cueva threw
extravagant parties, entertaining
royalty and film stars such as
Rita Hayworth, Gary Cooper,
Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra.

Edward VII,
the king of
England, spent
many summer
holidays in
Biarritz in the
early 20th
century.

The British
Royal Family,
following the lead set
by King EdwardVII,
became regular
visitors to Biarritz’s
sunny shores. This
photograph of
Edward, Prince of
Wales, later the Duke
of Windsor, and his
younger brother
George, Duke of Kent,
was taken in 1925,
while they were
guests at the
Villa Hélianthe.

Charlie Chaplin was one of a host of
internationally famous people who
regularly frequented Biarritz’s many
luxurious hotels, such as the Hôtel
Miramar, in 1930s and 1940s.

BATHING
The fashion for sea bathing
was born in Biarritz thanks
to Napoleon III and Empress
Eugénie, who reigned as
“Beach Queen” until World
War I and again in the
interwar period. The heyday
of that epoch’s seaside
holidays was brought to an
abrupt end by the Wall
Street crash of 1929 and the
economic hardship of
the 1930s that followed.

В окрестностях:

Anglet, 4km (2.5 miles) east
of Biarritz, has a long beach,
as well as a pine forest, the
Chiberta golf course and the
legendary Grotte de la
Chambre-d’Amour. There are
fine views from the Chapelle
Sainte-Madeleine at Bidart,
5km (3 miles) south of
Biarritz, and at Guéthary, 2km
(1 mile) further south, the
Musée Municipal Saraleguinea
displays contemporary art.

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