Today Biarritz, tomorrow??

Trip Start Apr 10, 2012
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Trip End Jul 13, 2012


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Flag of France  , Aquitaine,
Thursday, May 31, 2012

Biarritz puts to my mind a glitzy beach town, with upmarket hotels, and fashion conscious people in sports cars with the roof down. But it's not really that kind of town. More your heritage hotel, old ladies in fine or ordinary clothes and the young and not so young on the beach with very little on regardless of whether they have the body for it or not.

And it is more than a beach town. It is almost one city with both Anglet and Bayonne, the capital of the French Basque area. 
 
We went to Bayonne first. After the clean white and coloured trim of the buildings we have been seeing lately, it was almost a shock to come back to the colourless and rather unkempt buildings in the centre of Bayonne. They are very old of course, that is the difference. There was the Chateau Vieux, an old castle some of which dates back to the 12th century. And the Gothic Cathedral Ste-Marie which began in the 13th century.
 
But as we walk the cobbled streets we gradually get back into the time and place. There is a certain kind of elegance about the creamy coloured old  buildings with their faded aqua shutters and lacy wrought iron.
 
And then the waterfront along the river!  The houses lining the Nive River are examples of Basque architecture, with half-timbering and shutters in the national colours of red and green. they make a lovely sight, and their reflections in the river add to the beauty.
 
And then we head to Biarritz. We wander through the streets towards the water. The day is beautiful, so we buy a roll and sit in a little park overlooking the view. Biarritz has a history of being the place where Napolean III and his Spanish born wife Eugenie visited regularly. Their time here is still remembered. Eugenie was the inspiration for the tiny church called Chapelle Imperiale, and the  stately Hotel du Palais was also built for her.
 
In Australia  we don't have beach places like this. better beaches yes, but not the historical surrounds that we find here.
 
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