Biarritz, in the far southwest of France, is best known for its surfing. The town is completely geared up for it, with the beaches a short walk from the centre and huge expanses of sand and shallow surf.
Not only is the surfing world class but the setting, with the Pyrenees rising in the distance, is spectacular. But though the surfing and sunbathing are big draws, there is plenty more on offer in Biarritz.
Benefiting from a mild climate and a laid back lifestyle, there are numerous other sports and outdoor activities on offer as well as good restaurants, bars and museums. As the airport is so close to the town centre, it's perfect for a hassle-free weekend getaway.
Everything in Biarritz is in walking distance, set around rocky headlands, which jut out between the two main beaches - the Grande Plage and Cote des Basques.
Biarritz has had an interesting past and has always made its fortune from the sea. It was originally a whaling settlement, but in the 18th-century doctors recommended that the ocean at Biarritz had therapeutic properties and people flocked to find cures for various ailments.
The charming, chic resort has diverse architecture - half-timbered villas, the grand 19th-century Hotel du Palais, Art Deco properties and modern buildings such as the beachfront casino.
Refurbished over the last decade or so, the seaside resort has retained its original appeal while incorporating the new additions. The town has distinctive tamarisk trees and hydrangea-covered banks with well-lit paths zigzagging down to the sea.
Walk out to the viewpoint at Rocher de la Vierge and stroll through the town centre and Port Vieux to get a real feel for the place.
In the summer season many shops and attractions stay open until midnight, offering an unusual way to go sightseeing. We enjoyed a crowd-free trip round the fish and seal tanks at the Musee de la Mer at 11pm!
The small Port Des Pecheurs is a nice spot for a walk and an alfresco dinner.
The Le Corsaire restaurant, on the water's edge, serves beautifully-cooked local dishes focused around fresh fish and seafood.
The Basque region has a strong identity of its own, complete with its own language, Euskara, and markets and festivals continue to celebrate local traditions.
Gastronomic specialities include piperade sauce, made with tomatoes, onions and sweet peppers, Bayonne ham, and Pyrenean sheep's cheese served with black cherry jam.
We stayed at the clean and stylish Le Caritz hotel, overlooking the sea. Owned by the family of French rugby player Pascal Ondarts, it is in a prime location in the old town opposite the Plage du Port Vieux, and serves good-quality food.
No city break is complete without some relaxing with a glass of wine, and Biarritz has a number of trendy venues to while away a summer's evening.
For the ultimate way to watch the sun go down, head up to the top of the cliff over the Cote des Basques to Les 100 Marches. With spectacular views and a lively atmosphere, this simple bar is a perfect place to unwind after a day in the sun.
Beyond the town, there are more beaches to explore at neighbouring Anglet, the medieval city of Bayonne (a short bus ride away) and St Jean de Luz, as well as San Sebastian and Bilbao in Spain.