Biarritz (Saint-Jean-de-Uz)

Tucked in France's Côte Basque, Biarritz first came to prominence in the mid-19th century when Napoleon III built a summer palace here for his wife, Empress Eugenie. The oceanside palace is now the esteemed Hotel du Palais, a landmark for the dynamic, beach-rimmed Biarritz. Surfing in France originated here in the late 1950s and the sport has become synonymous with the city. You might watch surfers riding the waves the funnel into the Bay of Biscay, or simply comb the lovely beaches. Biarritz also has an urban personality and museums dedicated to everything from Asian art to chocolate. Don't miss the blue-domed Russian Orthodox church, built for visiting Russian aristocrats in the 19th century.

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