Sitting sleepily amid the cliffs and coves of the French west coast is Biarritz. This surfing town has good vibes and a sunny disposition, and is roughly a two hour drive from Bordeaux. For someone in need of an instant lift and some serious relaxation with a traditional holiday feel, look no further than this part of the Basque country.
The town itself is pleasing to the eye, with big old French hotels rising out of the rocks and fairy tale turrets perfectly placed to watch the sunset or gaze over at the Pyrenees, which appear cloud-like through the heat haze. Whilst there is plenty with which to entertain yourself, be it a leisurely afternoon of shopping, sampling charming patisseries or even a visit to the impressive art deco casino, one of the more addictive pursuits is catching waves.
In Biarritz mid-summer a wetsuit is superfluous, meaning that you get to tan whilst the adrenaline is pumping and your stomach muscles are toning - just an added bonus. If all that sounds like too much hard work, plan your trip around one of the many pro surfing competitions, such as the ASP Roxy world tour. As I type we’re on the eve of the first day of this year’s international women’s surf event, and yet we’re holding our breath; the sea is set to look like a pond for the duration – there is no swell, I repeat, there are no waves! With a line up including Sally Fitzgibbons, Tyler Wright and Coco Ho, the organisers will have their fingers crossed that something turns up for these pros to showcase their talents. That said, if the recent Roxy short film (cringe) is an indication of their commitment to the promotion of female surfing, should no waves occur at least the cameras can capture the girls frolicking in the waves in bikinis – maybe they’ll even orchestrate a pillow fight! Miaow.
Despite the wave situation, from my lofty position of a big fixed tent (with even a plug to charge my phone!), in a campsite with a pool, I have no doubts that I’ll enjoy my trip. I’ll check out the surf tour, with a sorbet or two, and plenty of sun cream, perhaps followed by a refreshing dive into the sea at the Porte Vieux, a naturally occurring cove, perfect for swimming. Then I might go cliff jumping before retiring to my private terrace and luxury tent. A glass or two of wine – did I mention the proximity of Bordeaux? Then bed. All again in the morning!