When it rains in Biarritz (and it does that a lot) you eat. And that is pretty much what I did when I spent a weekend on the French Atlantic coast a few weeks ago.
My flight from Gatwick was so early, that I found myself having breakfast in Biarritz at ten in the morning. I found a fresh and modern looking brasserie called La Coupole right by the bus stop where the airport shuttle had dropped me and I wandered in for a typically French croissant, baguette and cafe au lait breakfast.
I was way too early to check into my hotel so I took my trolley bag for a wander around town. Besides independent boutiques and quirky home stores, I happened on the Halles of Biarritz; A covered food market with lots of individual food stalls and small eateries. It's on every day till around 2pm and you'll find everything from fresh fruit and veg to ready made tapas. I had another coffee at le Petit Dolmen and indulged in a cherry jam filled Basque tarte.
Wandering makes a person hungry so around lunch time I found a street side table next to the food market called L'Amiral. A casual brasserie serving local tapas and other regional French dishes. I went for a warm goat's cheese salad, and a glass of rose. Lunch was followed by a bout of more sightseeing and some discount shopping.
The lady at my hotel's reception desk had a few recommendations for dinner, which led me to the Rue du Ctre. The restaurants here close off the street for traffic and fill it with tables and chairs for al fresco diners. Unfortunately it was chucking it down so I walked on and was lured into a lively bar called Casa Bixente. Not sure if it was the sight of the pintxos on the bar or the voice of Enrique Iglesias singing Bailamos, but it couldn't feel more Basque country in this place. I had a three cheese platter and a platter of Basque style tapas with cured ham and quails eggs.
The next day I ventured over to neighbouring Bayonne which is an incredibly quaint medieval town and well worth the bus ride from Biarritz. The town centre is dominated by a wide canal lined with colourful buildings that reminded me of the tudor style you see here in England.
It also boasts a covered food market flanked by a few restaurants one of which I picked to have lunch at.
I headed back to Biarritz as I was going to fly back to the UK that evening, but before bussing back to the airport I popped into Ventilo Caffe on Rue Mazagran for a quick pre-flight bite. They served me a plate of mussels prepared the Basque way. Not sure what that way is, but it tasted mighty good.