The Rocher de la Vierge (The Rock of the Virgin Mary) named for the statue of the Holy Virgin placed on its summit in 1865, was used by Napoleon III as an anchoring point for the Port du Refuge (The Port of Refuge) dike that he planned to create.
Hence, the rock was made accessible to land via a wooden bridge and a tunnel was drilled that enabled the delivery of stone blocks used for the construction of the dam. The wooden bridge didn't withstand the test of time and Gustav Eiffel replaced it in 1887 with an iron bridge that is still in place.
The statue of the Virgin Mary was installed as a token of gratitude by whalers, saved from being shipwrecked by following a dazzling and mysterious light perceptible from the rock's summit.
The Grande Plage de Biarritz (The Big Beach) is without doubt the most popular beach with the tourists right in the heart of the Biarritz resort, attracting hordes of visitors seeking sun and sea. The most strenuous activity on this big beach is sunbathing in the shadow of the famous blue, yellow, green or red striped beach huts.
Sunbathers can enjoy splendid views of Biarritz Lighthouse without having to lift a finger. Biarritz Grande Plage fronts one of the resort's most well known landmarks, the luxurious Hôtel du Palais, built by Napoleon III for his wife Eugénie.
Biarritz is also a historic surfing capital and the Grande Plage de Biarritz is ideal for your debut as a surfer, before moving on to the bigger waves of the beach at the Basque Coast.
A decree dating back to 1289 allowing the running of oxen, cows and bulls through the streets of Bayonne is still in place today. It's the oldest written reference to bull running in the world!
Years later, in 1757, the city thought it prudent to fence off the bullfighting. The idea ofarenas was also starting to take shape. The building that is open to visitors today was inaugurated in 1893. With 10 000 seats, it's one of the largest arenas in the South West.
This neo-Moorish style building is now an integral part of Bayonne's heritage.
Dedicated to Saint John the Baptist, the patron saint of Saint-Jean-de-Luz, thecurrent church was most probably built on the ruins of an early church. The Church of Saint John the Baptist is mentioned for the first time in 1186.
The oldest parts such as the bell tower porch and a few windows date back to the 14th or 15th centuries.
The building was repeatedly destroyed by the many fires that raged in Saint-Jean-de-Luz.
In 1649, Louis de Milhet, the king's architect who had settled in Bayonne, drew up new plans for theChurch of Saint John the Baptist. These doubled the size of the building by pushing back the North wall into the cemetery which surrounds the church.
The work was completed in 1680 and saw the construction of the apse and side chapels. So Louis XIV and theInfanta Maria Theresa, actually got married in a church which was under construction in 1660.
Built by Johannis de Lohobiague, a rich ship builder, in 1643, this house in Saint-Jean-de-Luz welcomed Louis XIV when he married the Infanta of Spain in 1660. The king stayed there for more than a month. It was also during this stay that he signed the Treaty of the Pyrenees.
Owned by the same family for more than three hundred years, the Maison Louis XIV is now open to the public and displays the changes in tableware, furniture and paintings since its construction.