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The stylish city of Biarritz lies on the Bay of Biscay on the Atlantic coast, in south-west France. Located in the Pyrenees-Atlantiques department in the Aquitaine region it is adjacent to Bayonne and Anglet and 11 miles from the border with Spain. Its location also places it in Basque territory, in the traditional province of Labourd in the French Basque Country.
The sea has always been where Biarritz has made its fortune. First as a fishing village and then as a place for whale hunting from the twelfth century onwards. In the eighteenth century doctors said that its sea had therapeutic properties, inspiring patients to make pilgrimages to the beach for cures for illnesses. Its popularity grew in 1854 when Napoleon III and his wife built a palace on the beach (now the Hotel du Palais), inspiring royal visits from around Europe. A casino opened in 1901 attracting tourism from as far as North America and this reputation has only enhanced with surfers from around the globe now making the journey. Today it is one the most frequented tourist destinations on the Atlantic French coast.