Basque in the Sun at Biarritz

One of the blogs that I follow mentioned that the Roxy Pro 2013 Women’s World Surfing Championship was taking place in Biarritz on July 10-14. I wasn’t going to miss that!

Biarritz is on the Côte Basque (the Basque Coast) in the far southwest of France, just 11 miles from the Spanish border. You might call this the western French Riviera. Biarritz is also at the foot of the Pyrenees Mountains on the edge of the Basque region.

Until 1620, this region – that is, the lands both north and south of the ridge of the Pyrenees Mountains – was an independent kingdom known as Navarre. In 1620, that part of the Basque landscape on the north side of the mountains became part of France. The lands south of the mountains were conquered by Spain in 1521; however, the Spanish Basque region has continued to this day to maintain a significant level of autonomy.

I’ll save the rest of my comments about the Basques and their culture for a later post since it’s not what Biarritz is known for. Biarritz is known for its beaches and its surfing and that’s why we were here.

We drove into town looking for the Roxy Pro Surfing Championship. After not finding it at the Grand Plage, we walked out on a rocky lookout point to scan the coast for the tents and flags marking the competition.

You can’t see them from here, but we later located the Roxy tents and flags on the Côte des Basques Beach behind that chateau on the point.

The streets are narrow and winding in Biarritz and it was difficult to find a parking spot, but we finally located one at the top of the bluff and then made our way down to the beach.

Côte des Basques Beach was pretty crowded (top-right you can see the other side of the chateau; our “self-portrait” photo was taken from out on those rocks to the left of it).

Made it! Roxy Pro Surfing Championship!

Let’s see those girls surf!

Uh, oh. Somebody forgot to order waves from King Neptune. It was flat as a board; competition on hold (we later learned that the competition was canceled due to lack of rideable surf).

Oh, well. It was nice to see the place. But, for us, it was too hot to lay out on the beach – no umbrellas or cabanas for rent.

On our way back to the car, we noticed that quite a few sunbathers had opted for the concrete over the sand. Looks like it’s a popular thing to do for some reason (notice the permanent umbrella holders on the concrete deck), but you’d think it would be more comfortable on the beach.

Anyway, it was HOT all along the beach in Biarritz and we wanted to move on up to a higher elevation in the Pyrenees in search of a cool place to spend the night. Au revoir, Biarritz!

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