Biarritz A to Z

Atalaye: located on a headland by the sea, today called the Atalaye plateau. From this vantage point the town’s people used to signal the approach of a whale.

Aurresku: a Basque ritual welcomes (a dance of honour).

Biarritz’ mild climate: one of the most striking features from the whole range of attractions offered by the resort. It is a place where summer is never too hot and the winter never too cold.

Bodega: an inn where tapas (Spanish apetizers) can be eaten.

Cesta Punta: a given name for a distinct type of pelota. It is a very spectacular game, played with a “large glove” against three walls with a covered front wall called Jai-Alai.

Chipirons: squid often cooked in its own ink.

Chocolate: a local industry started by Spanish and Portuguese Jews when they were expelled from the Iberic Peninsula during the Inquisition.

Euskara: given name for the Basque language, the origins of which dawn from the beginning of time.

Force Basque: traditional games played by opposing village teams. The rules of the games are of a rural nature.

Front wall: a wall used for pelota games, usually situated near the villages’ churches and traditionally painted pink. It is the centre of Basque villages.

Gare du Midi: Biarritz town’s old railway station, which was inaugurated in 1911. This art nouveau monument is now the “Palais des Festivals” building.

Haize Egoa: the South wind. It often blows in autumn, bringing mildness and an incomparable light to this season.

Hydrangeas: these pink, blue, purple or white flowers form part of the character of the town of Biarritz, and can be found everywhere.

Izarra: a green or yellow liqueur which is made from herbs collected from the Basque mountains.

Joko Garbi: a Chistera game (spelt Xistera in Basque), which is played freely against the town’s walls.

Kanougas: chocolate toffee made according to a family recipe of a famous Biarritz chocolate maker, which is still kept secret today. It is a real delight!

Lighthouse: the lighthouse of Biarritz was erected in 1834. It is 73 metres high and has 248 steps. Overhanging the Hainsart Cape, Biarritz’ lighthouse marks the
separation point between the Landes’ sandy coast and the rocky side of the Basque country.

Longboard: the longest registered surf board, it has to be at least 2.74 metres long.

Makila: a shepherd’s stick made from medlar wood. The knob of the stick can be unscrewed and used as a weapon. The makila is decorated with metal, such as copper, silver and even gold, and engraved with the motto of its owner.

The Sea Museum: founded in 1933, not to be missed!

Napoleon III: if Empress Eugenia made Biarritz fashionable, then Napoleon III certainly contributed to the town’s development and richness by carrying out important planning changes.

Ongi Etorri: “welcome” in Basque. Piperade: a typical Basque dish made with scrambled eggs, tomatoes and chilies.

Quality of life: the true meaning of this word cannot be appreciated until one visits

Rocks: they give the site its exceptional beauty. Each of the rocks has its own name,
which a true local would know.The most famous : the Virgin rock

Saint Martin: the town’s patron saint represents the welcoming tradition of Biarritz.
The first church of Biarritz, which was erected around the middle of the 12th century
and restored in 1541, was named after Saint Martin.

Tamarisk: it is impossible to miss them, there are everywhere in Biarritz. Planted along
the seaside, they are hardy and can resist both the West wind and the sea breeze.

Txistu: a three-holed flute, the instrument which forms the basis of Basque music.

Uhaina: the Basque word for “wave”.

Villas: they are one of the major charms of Biarritz’ architecture. Built from the end of the 19th century to the 30’s, the villas have greatly contributed to Biarritz’
particular style and identity.

Windsor: the Duke and the Duchess of Windsor were always faithful to Biarritz. The town pays tribute to them each year by organising its famous Windsor Ball.

Xistera: a name given to the leather and woven wicker glove that one wears to play Cesta Punta. In French, the spelling is “Chistera”.

Yachting: the only sport that cannot be practiced off the coast of Biarritz, despite the town’s adequate port. But, St Jean de Luz in the South and Bayonne, located in the North of Biarritz, are only too happy to welcome yachtsmen.

Zikiro: a piece of lamb cooked on the glowing embers of a fire

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