Rumour has it that Eugenia de Montijo - wife to Napoleon III -, found in the small whaling village of Biarritz a haven of tranquillity where to forget the tragedies that had struck the last years of her life.
But the truth is that the French Empress had been in love with the beautiful fine sand beaches and the therapeutic marine waters of this coastal town long before that.
Eugenia had in fact built a summer residence by the sea - today’s Hôtel du Palais and her presence attracted to Biarritz la crème de la crème of European and Russian nobility, making of this tiny fishing village an aristocratic “hot spot” in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Today, that luxurious air of Biarritz’s imperial era blends with the good vibes and chill out philosophy of the surf culture that has learnt to make the most of the incomparable fury of the waves of the Bay of Biscay.
So whether you are a lover of history, whether you travel everywhere with your surfboard, or whether you are passionate foodie, Biarritz is a must when you stay with us at Villa Argentina.
This is why:
To talk about Biarritz is to talk about casinos, spas, imperial architecture and great stately homes. But, in actual fact, the history of this settlement began in a much humbler corner of the French Basque coast, known today as the Fishermen’s Port (Port des Pêcheurs or Port Vieux in French).
Built in 1870 to allow for the docking of inshore dinghies, the old Port des Pêcheurs has now become a picturesque area where tourist gather to enjoy some of the best fresh fish and seafood the Cantabric Sea has to offer.
So if you are keen to breathe the debonair and luxurious charm of the imperial Biarritz, your first stop is the Hotel de Palais.
Started in 1855, its future became uncertain in 1870 with the fall of the Napoleonic dynasty. When the Empress left Biarritz in 1880, the palace was sold to become a luxurious hotel-casino, frequented by the royalty and nobility of the entire European continent. So popular became Biarritz among the European aristocracy that soon it was known as "the queen of the beaches and the beach of the kings".
Riding on the popularity of this Cantabrian jewel, Biarritz built the Municipal Casino, an international art deco masterpiece, now one main of Biarritz’ architectural emblems.
How did a small town feed so much royalty? You wonder…
Visit the Halles Market and you’ll find the answer.
Built in 1885, the Halles Market offered - and continues to offer – some of the best produce of the Basque-French land and sea.
If you are a lover of history and gastronomy, the Halles Market must be your first stop in Biarritz!
The Cantabrian Sea is a sea to be respected.
The beach you select will depend on the activity you hope to enjoy.
If you are a surfer visit...
La Plage de la Côte des Basques. Interestingly, at high tide, the sand disappears completely under the sea, so it’s important to keep in mind that leaving the beach at high tide will require you to climb very high and sharp rocks and cliffs.
Access to Marbella Beach is not easy either, as you’ll have to go down (and up) a whole lot of stairs. However, this wild beach is a stunning paradise for surfers and body boarders.
If you’d rather plunge yourself in the sea...
La Grande Plage is the ideal place for you.
Located in the heart of Biarritz, “The Big Beach” was once known as the "Côte des Fous" (coast of the madmen), because of the number of "sick people" wanting to benefit from the positive effects that seaweeds in this area have on the body.
In Biarritz you’ll find some of the best seafood in the world cooked in the traditional Basque French style…! Truly finger licking!
Not to mention their famous pastries and sweets!
Our family is very fond of Pizzeria des Arceaux, a beautiful spot with more than 40 years of history, where you’ll enjoy some of the best pizzas and lasagne you’ve ever tried!
We also love a cafe owned by the family of French Basque migrants to the United States who have returned home. The Milwaukee Café is the ideal sport for families with children and those who enjoy healthy food made with local ingredients with an American twist.
The shops and the offer in Biarritz are both amazing and spectacular!
Your first stop is the Rue du Port-Vieux, and from them branch out to Rue Mazagran or Rue Gambetta. In any of these picturesque streets you will find some of the trendiest bars, restaurants and shops in the city, including internationally renowned brands like Dior and Armani.
Twice a year, Biarritz celebrates what locals call the "Braderie".
During these days, the stores exhibit in the street their off-season goods at very reduced prices. This is definitely the perfect time to plan a trip to Biarritz!
In love with Biarritz already?
Well, if you stay in Villa Argentina, Biarritz is only 50 minutes away, and only 6km from the A63 motorway, which takes you from Bordeaux to the Spanish border. The road itself is already worth it as it traverses some impressive landscapes.
Spend a few days in Villa Argentina, surrounded by one of the most idyllic environments in all of Spain, and visit this old whaling village which will surely steal your heart.
Make your reservation here today.