At the very end of France, from Bayonne to Bilbao, from the Coast to the Pyrenees through the backcountry, the Basque Country offers a large diversity of landscapes, cultural, gastronomic and sports experiences.
At the confluence of the Adour and the Nive rivers, Bayonne, a city nearby Biarritz, has a lot to offer: you will enjoy wandering under the archways or on the banks along the Nive, in particular on market days, and all week long in the shopping streets surrounding the gorgeous Cathedral.
A stylish beach town on France’s southwestern coast, Biarritz was once the holiday spot for nobility and is now Europe’s surfing capital. It’s experienced a tourist renaissance—summers are busy. Biarritz lacks the Riviera’s glitz, but you’ll see affluent holiday-makers in designer gear and surfers in flip-flops, and hear French, Spanish and Basque. The Grande Plage is the centre of the action. Behind it, visit the restored, Art Deco casino and wander the streets down to the old port to the west.
Hotel Du Palais
Hotel Du Palais is set on the main beach of the town, which lies on the rugged coast of the Bay of Biscay at the foot of the Pyrenees. Originally built in 1854 by the emperor Napolen III, the hotel has excellent restaurants, a bar and a pool. The decor is still reminiscent of the hotel's past as an aristocratic gathering place, and prices are high. The hotel is set among historic grounds, reached by a grand driveway.
More details: http://www.hotel-du-palais.com/
Where to play
The Basque Coast is a privileged area that attracts golfers from around the world, seduced by the quality, diversity and beauty of the courses.
The area boasts an exceptional concentration and variety of courses in addition to a mild climate, fascinating history and heritage, as well as a laid-back lifestyle that make it a paradise for visiting golfers. So golfers from far and wide have discovered four of the most beautiful courses on the Basque coast: Arcangues, Biarritz Le Phare, Makila Bayonne and Seignosse.
Seignosse is the best known to British golfers by virtue of it being consistently in Golf World’s Top 100 ranking of Continental European Courses – but the other three are extremely worthy colleagues. And you can play the quartet for an astonishingly low price through the Biarritz Golf Pass. It gives you the opportunity to play two, three or four rounds with incredibly attractive prices – from €100, €150 and €200 respectively. Simply contact one of the four clubs to book the courses or on the website www.golfpassbiarritz.com. These are the courses you could be playing...
Designed by Ron Fream in 1991, this 6,756-yard course offers nice views on the Basque countryside and the Pyrenees. There is a good flow between the holes, which sit nicely in the diverse landscape. After your round, you can enjoy the wonderful view from the sidewalk café which overlooks the 1st and 10st tees and the 18th tee.
Prolific American Rocky Roquemore laid this splendid course out in 1993. Slightly longer than Arcangues, it is routed around magnificent oak trees yet provides large fairways so is not overly punishing. Roquemore made a terrific job of assimilating the course in this large natural woodland site in front of the Pyrenees.
Biarritz Le Phare
This is a course of immense history, dating back to 1888. It was designed by the famous Tom and Willie Dunn and is a cute sub- 6,000-yard course in a prestigious environment in the heart of Biarritz city. Biarritz le Phare was later tweaked in 1920 by the Harry Colt, making it one of the most illustriously-designed courses in Continental Europe. Oozes French golf history and the sports tradition of the Basque Country.
Celebrated American architect Robert Von Hagge created Seignosse in 1989, and it has been a fixture in Golf World’s European Top 100 for many years. It is under 7,000 yards but is one of the most challenging courses in France as a result of narrow fairways lined by mature trees and numerous water features. A real masterpiece, its undulating layout covers a natural mixture of pines and cork oaks.