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BIARRITZ: (Pyrénées-Atlantiques département, Aquitaine région) PDF Print E-mail

Also see Bayonne
43°29′N 1°33′W. The 1999 population was 30,055. A town and commune on the Bay of Biscay on the Atlantic coast of southwestern France, this luxurious seaside town is popular with tourists and surfers. Biarritz boasts some of the best beaches in Europe and has won multiple awards for their top class standards. Vikings who invaded Gascony in 840 settled in Biarritz in the area above the Gardague Beach, a good whaling location. After the defeat of their chief in 982, the descendants remained here and continued hunting whales. In the 18th century doctors recommended that the ocean at Biarritz had therapeutic properties, inspiring patients to make pilgrimages to the beach for alleged cures for their ailments. Biarritz's became more renowned in 1854 when Empress Eugenie (the wife of Napoleon III) built a palace on the beach (now the Hôtel du Palais). The British royal family regularly took vacations in Biarritz: European royalty were frequent visitors.  Since the expulsion of the Jews from Spain, a Community existed with more than 2 000 souls in 1619. The actual synagogue, built in 1904, contains the objects of the worship from the ancient synagogue of Peyrehorade. The actual Community now (2006) numbers 150 members approximately. The community is attached to Bayonne. [January 2008]



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