1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Biarritz

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BIARRITZ, a watering-place of south-western France, in the department of Basses-Pyrénées, on the sea-coast about 5 m. W.S.W. of Bayonne. Pop. (1906) 13,629. From a mere fishing village, with a few hundred inhabitants in the beginning of the 19th century, Biarritz rose rapidly into a place of importance under the patronage of the emperor Napoleon III. and the empress Eugénie, with whom it was a favourite resort. The town is situated on a promontory jutting north-west into the Bay of Biscay and on the coast which extends on each side of it. The beach to the north-east is known as the Grande Plage, that to the south-west as the Côte des Basques. The Grande Plage is more than half a mile long and stretches to the Cap St Martin, on which stands a lighthouse. It is divided into two parts by a small headland once the site of the villa of the empress Eugénie, between which and the main promontory are the two casinos, the principal baths and many luxurious villas and fine hotels. Towards the north-east the promontory of Biarritz ends in a projection known as the Atalaye, crowned by the ruins of a castle and surrounded by rocky islets. Some of these are united to the mainland and to each other by jetties which curve round so as to form the Port de Refuge, a haven available only in fair weather. South-west of the Atalaye lies the Port-Vieux, a sheltered cove now used only as a bathing-place. The Port des Pêcheurs, the principal of the three harbours, is on the south-east side of the Atalaye and is that most used by the fishermen of the town. Apart from unimportant manufactures of pottery, chocolate, &c., fishing is the only industry; Biarritz depends for its prosperity on the visitors who are attracted by its mild climate and the bathing. The season is almost continuous; in the winter the English, in the summer Russians, Spaniards and French fill the hotels of the town. Among its attractions is a golf club, established in 1888, with a course of 18 holes.