It was the early hours of Thursday morning when I boarded my Air France flight from Mumbai to Paris Charles De Gaulle Roissy airport during the third week of March. On arrival at the CDG airport, I made my way to “Les Cars Air France Shuttle Terminal” to take the bus transfer to Orly airport for my onward flight to the basque region of South-west France in Biarritz. In 90 minutes, I was at Orly and within the next 1 hr 15 minutes, we arrived in Biarritz where the weather was a pleasant 16 degrees Celsius.
The town of Biarritz is strategically located and is merely 25 minutes from the airport of San Sebastian in Spain and one hour flight from either Madrid or Barcelona. We checked into the Hotel du Palais on arrival which is truly a historic place where were we staying as it is in the shape of the alphabet E – a gift given by Napolean III to Empress Eugenie. The Hotel du Palais was formerly a summer mansion and now is one of the most beautiful hotels in the world overlooking the beaches and beyond the Atlantic. It’s charming elegance will simply take your breath away.
The true invention of Biarritz is attributed to Eugenie. It is on the Basque coast of this lovely city that she spent most of her summer holidays. The hotel comprises of 150 rooms and also houses Villa Eugenie which is a 1 Michelin Star restaurant. The casino is walking distance of this majestic property . After our check-in we did a guided tour of the town which in the past has been the home to royalties from across the globe – from Elisabeth of Austria to the Duke of Windsor, and from the Maharaja of Indore to actors,designers and even well known celebrities prefer this low profile destination compared to the Cote d’Azur. In 1954, the pool at the Hotel du Palais was inaugurated by Frank Sinatra and Gary Cooper and the hotel which houses classic and prestige rooms as well as junior and regular suite rooms has been home to some well know celebrities from Hollywood as well.
Biarritz is chic and glamorous and home to festivals, ballets, concerts, cultural events, congresses and sporting events too. It is bustling in entertainment with restaurants, bars and a casino especially during summer and on weekends as well as a paradise for golfers, surfers and for the health conscious, it has several thalassotherapy centres for rejuvenation.
(to be continued)