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Biarritz Beach, France

Biarritz is a large town with several quartiers and is one of the principal resorts on the Côte Basque, and probably the most famous part of the Pays Basque. Biarritz came to fame in the mid 19th Century, when Empress Eugenie (the wife of Napoleon III) fell in love with this part of the Basque country and built a Palace on the beach at Biarritz (which is now the world class Hotel du Palais) and a centre with natural springs at Eugenie les Bains in the Landes. Eugenie invited foreign royalty to stay with their entourages and courtiers; Queen Victoria of Britain, who came regularly over a period of 30 years, and sundry Spanish, Swedish, Dutch, German, Russian nobility. The Russians built their own magnificent Orthodox Church next to the Palace.
The principle architecture in Biarritz was not typically Basque, but rather a blend of 19th century city residences, large and expansive, made of local stone bricks. If you bought one of these houses now, you would probably find titles such as the Prince, Duke, Baron, Marquee etc. on the title deeds.

Biarritz has a lot more than beautiful buildings to offer today. It's a vibrant cosmopolitan town with magnificent beaches, golf courses and numerous sporting facilities, not forgetting the surf. Surfing started in France here in Biarritz and surfers come from all over the world to ride the waves. The Biarritz Surf Festival brings together surfers from Hawaii, California and Australia every year to celebrate the birth of surfing in Biarritz.

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