Events in and around Biarritz
- Twice a year, in February and July, Biarritz hosts the Festival des Jeux/Games Fair (bridge and scrabble).
- Festival des Arts de la Rue: Performance artists take to the streets for five days in early May.
- The Club Hippique (horse riding) is host to a number of events, such as the Jumping de Biarritz, featuring show-jumping at its highest level. Every July, for those keen on sporting spectacle, the Fleurs de Biarritz racecourse features some thirteen night-time trotting race meetings, including the top event, the Grand Prix de la Ville de Biarritz.
- Big Festival: Held in mid-July and attracting an increasing array of indie music bands, this is the big music festival in Biarritz.
- Biarritz is home to surfing competitions such as le Roxy Pro in July, the world female longboard championship.
- Biarritz is the home of competitions such as l’Open GDF Suez de Biarritz, an international female tennis tournament rated among the top five events of this type in France. Ideally scheduled after Wimbledon and a showcase for talent, the Open de Biarritz attracts a line-up of top-quality players.
- Le Temps d'Aimer: A two-week celebration of dance in all its forms is held in mid-September.
- Festival de Biarritz Amérique Latine: Held in late-September through to early October, this film and culture festival brings a little South American exotica to Biarritz.
Activities in and around Biarritz
- Golf: 10 Golf courses within 50 km!: A prime golfing destination, Biarritz boasts the second oldest golf course in Europe. Created in 1888, le Golf du Phare, is located right in the town centre. In addition, the stunning Centre International d’Entraînement d’Ilbarritz with its 5 golf schools, surrounded by 26 ha of greenery offers a breath taking 360° panoramic view of the ocean. The mild climate allows you to play golf all the year round.
- Surfing – Biarritz is the historic surfing capital of Europe. From April to November, 10 surfing schools welcome beginners or experienced surfers alike, for a few hours of tuition or several days.
- Tennis: The Biarritz Olympique Tennis features 14 public courts, including 4 indoor and 3 lit at night.
- Horse Riding: The Club Hippique in Biarritz, right next to the ocean, will help you to discover, enjoy and perfect your equestrian activities, at both beginners’ and competitive levels.
- Shopping: Biarritz is an elegant town and likes good food. It has a love affair with chic shop windows and trendy boutiques: clothes, shoes and accessories, jewellery, Basque household linen, antiques, delicatessens or fine chocolates …The streets are ideal for leisurely window shopping, from the place Clémenceau to the Port Vieux, from Les Halles to the Saint Charles quarter – but that special find may equally await you in Saint Martin or the area around la Négresse. So put on your “espadrilles” and wander about in Biarritz. Every little corner may hide that special treasure you’d love to take away!
- Nightlife (Casino Barriere, night clubs, bars…)
- Basque Pelota: Basque Pelota is a court sport played with a racket hitting a ball against a wall, out of the opponents' reach. It is therefore sometimes compared to squash. There are more than 20 variations of the game which stirs the heart of every Basque. The most popular, la Pala, is played against the « fronton», but the most spectacular version remains la Cesta punta which can be watched in the surroundings of the Jaï-Alaï, during the tournament of the Gant d’or/golden Glove in the summer. Beginners can try it for themselves.
- Musée Historique de Biarritz: Discover the town’s history.
- Visit the charming Imperial Chapel
- Climb the 248 steps of the Lighthouse
- Immerse yourself in the oriental culture of the Musée Asiatica.
- If you’re a chocolate lover, submit to the temptations of the « Planète Musée du chocolat ».
- Musée de la Mer Aquarium (Special Internet offers), now one of the biggest aquariums in France with its fifty tanks and several thousand species.
- For the more sporty, the Musée historique du Biarritz Olympique discloses the secrets of its sporting archives dating from 1900 to the present day.
GMT +1 hour
The official currency is the Euro (€). Coins are available in 1 cent, 2 cent, 5 cent, 10 cent, 20 cent, 50, cent , €1 & €2 denominations. Notes are available in €5, €10, €20, €50, €100, €200, €500 denominations.
Travellers cheques are widely accepted for exchange or purchase in major cities, but in more rural areas, visit a bank to exchange them for Euros. Major credit cards are widely accepted here (though a limited number of merchants have American Express accounts) and ATM access is widespread. Exchange currency only at authorized outlets such as banks and hotels, and exchange only what you think you will spend in-country. Coins cannot be reconverted on departure. Save all receipts from any currency exchange transaction. You may be asked to produce them when you exit the country, and they are required if you intend to reconvert local currency.
Tips in restaurants are usually added on at 10/15 % of the bill. However, it is often a subject of controversy whether this amount actually goes to the waiter or not, therefore it is your choice whether to tip more.
Arrival & Departure Formalities
Travel documents are your responsibility. In general you should have:
- A signed, valid passport that will remain valid for at least 6 months beyond the completion of your trip. Your passport must have enough blank pages (excluding amendment pages) available for entry and exit stamps issued when entering and exiting immigration points.
- Visas are required for certain nationalities and you are strongly advised to check your status allowing plenty of time for visa application.
It is advisable to contact your doctor before you travel if you have any specific health concerns and take out appropriate travel and medical insurance.
Electrical service in France is supplied at 220-240 volts/50 hertz.
- Traffic from the RIGHT has right of way, except at roundabouts or if the road has a white line across it.
- Passport or national ID as well as driver's license/insurance papers/ownership papers must be carried all the time.
- National speed limit is 50kmh (31mph) in towns, 90kmh (56mph) on secondary non-urban highways, 110kmh (68mph) on dual carriageways, 130kmh (80mph) on motorways (auto route).
- Speeding fines: 30 - 300 Euros.
- Minimum driving age is 18.
- For use of the highways (auto route) it is invariably necessary to pay a toll before access. Payment can be made by coins or by credit card.
- There are strict laws concerning drinking and driving. Blood alcohol levels must not exceed 0.05%. There are random breathalyser tests carried out regularly by the police.
- An international driving licence is not required for European citizens. Your locally issued driving licence, as long as it is accompanied by the passport, will suffice.