Quite a lot of road noise last night, but slept ok. Decided to go for it, and drive to Biarritz. Tintin drove - we both thought it was the nicest drive so far. Very varied, hilly, lots of fields and different scenery. The picture of the kiwi at a roundabout was because the lorry in front stopped for some reason and got out - don’t think we’d dare do that!
Drove through Bayonne (the French capital of chocolate - sure we would have stopped had I known sooner!) which seemed very built up, crossed L’Adour river into Anglet (on Basque coast with about 4.5km of sandy beaches)
Took about just over two hours and now at:
Anglet 1 - N43°30.427’ W001°32.059’ - First paid Aire! - €6 for 24 hours
Described in book as oversubscribed, large, unlevel - they’re not wrong, parking for 60 mohos - feels like a commune I’m not sure we want to be part of!
Quick lunch here, bikes out - and off we went. Surprisingly we felt the need to wear our fleeces, and even then our legs were cold! Not even up to 20°! Only takes about 20 minutes to ride into Biarritz. Rode up past the Casino, and locked our bikes up to go walking.
Biarritz has about 6kms of beaches with cliffs, rocks, sand, and coves. It has a reputation as one of the best spots for surfing in Europe. Went all along the front. If we’d had our bathers, would have gone in at Le Port Vieux - protected from the wind, and looked lovely.
There’s a picture of The Virgin Rock, apparently Napoleon III decided to use this impressive rock as an anchor point for the sea wall of the Port du Refuge he planned to create. The rock was also connected to the land by a wooden bridge (now a metal footbridge supposedly built by Gustav Eiffel).
The fishermen’s wharf is interesting. It was constructed in 1870 with the imperial funds left over after work on the Port du Refuge was abandoned. It is a picturesque and colourful place with lots of touristy bars and restaurants.
Walked around some of the ‘posh’ shops, looked at prices in the windows and giggled about Julia Roberts moments from Pretty Woman!
In the tourist information leaflet it says that the British discovered Biarritz in 1813-1814 during the war against the Imperial French army. The Duke of Wellington and his troupes, along with their Spanish and Portuguese allies, fought the Imperial Army after it was driven out of Spain. Violent and bloody battles took place, and the French retreated in December 1813, and the British occupied until August 1814. Having behaved decently with the population, they left a good impression! Good to know!
Came back about 5pm for a drink. Put bathers on and rode to beach. Didn’t venture in! We were in fleeces, and cold, even the sand didn’t feel warm after a day of sun in it - plus looked like lots of undertow!
Easy option to come back here for a Kraken and coke, and write this up before tea!
Do we drive into Spain tomorrow?
Sue, hope you are having a lovely birthday - and look forward to catching up when we’re home 😊