History of Biarritz

During the Middle Ages, the city of Biarritz was a small picturesque harbor recognized by its fishermen with a legendary ability to catch large fish, exclusively humpback whales. The inhabitants extract their oil so as to bring light to their homes. Bones and ribs were also used to tinker with protective enclosures and fences.


Of course, the flesh provides a very good feast especially the whale tongue, a prime food that is not given to everyone, only the wealthy of the time could afford the luxury of tasting this valuable quality food.


Biarritz presents a whale fishing site accessible to the general public. The creek, where is now located its Old Port, is protected from strong winds offshore. There is a pass that leads to quick access to the bay. Already for years, many cetaceans have stranded on the beach of the city because of its gentle slope during the high sea. It was enough for the villagers to wait and then break up the stranded fish.


The inhabitants of that time attached great importance to fishing and decided to work on the beach. They started building ovens to slice bacon, fireplaces to simmer and grill meat, and amphorae to store the oil.


The whales kept the lives of fishermen alive, but also of the entire population until about the middle of the 17th century. Feeling threatened, the big fish decided to flee the sea ... It was at this time that the fishing to Newfoundland was born ... The fishermen were then trained to sail towards the horizon to find the whales ... But many n 'will not come back ...


Our holiday rental offers in Biarritz

Villa Biarritz
From 4 290€ / week
Villa Biarritz

The house is in the perfect location – in old Biarritz, 150m from the well-known surf...

Villa Arcangues
From 5 480€ / week
Villa Arcangues

Splendid traditional home, with a unique cachet, in Arcangues, one of the most...

Villa Guéthary
From 2 690€ / week
Villa Guéthary

Pretty 135 sq.m. traditional Basque-style home. Large quiet garden, right in the center...