The jewel of away trips – Biarritz is one of those must go tours for all supporters.
Situated in the South West corner of France, right on the border with Spain this popular resort embraces five cultures (French, Basque, Spanish, Surfing and Rugby ) in a chic and passionate mix. A stylish town with a mild climate makes it a great destination all year round as the rugged Ulster supporter can sit outside in their FRU tee shirts on balmy December afternoons watching the locals saunter by in their furs!
Amongst the sites to visit the grandest address in town has to be Hotel Du Palais which was formerly the summer mansion of Napoleon III and Empress Eugenia; guests have included Queen Victoria, Frank Sinatra and Ernest Hemingway and Ulster Rugby.
Being a popular resort, a stay in Biarritz can be expensive enough and the slightly shabby Bayonne (slightly to the north) and the majestic San Sebastian (just over the border in Spain) offer less expensive alternatives. San Sebastian, in particular, is well worth a visit even if you are not staying there. Get there early for a stroll along its crescent shaped promenade with the locals on parade before heading into the Old Town to sample a few of the hundreds of speciality tapas bars – really there are hundreds in this gastronomic capital of Spain.
The trip to San Sebastian from Biarritz is a bit of fun in itself, just get the TGV to Hendaye on the French Spanish Border then change over for an exciting monorail ride into San Sebastian.
How to get there.
There are a couple of options, depending on when the fixture is.
If the game is before October 31st then Ryanair do direct flights from Dublin but this route is not available in December or January.
The best option during the winter months is Easy Jet from Belfast via Gatwick or Paris CDG though there can be substantial waiting times at both airports as it runs reduced flights on its winter schedule. Ryanair also do a year round service from Stansted.
If you like to keep on the move then your third option is train from Paris which takes about 4 ½ hours and would be a bit of an adventure or you could Eurostar it to Paris and TGV the rest (approx 8 ½ hrs).
Failing all those then Bilbao is about two hours down the road from Biarritz or about 1 hour 20 from San Sebastian if you decide to stay there. Aer Lingus do a seasonal schedule from Dublin and Easy Jet do year round from Stansted.
How to get tickets.
Not generally a problem but best to order through Ulster Rugby when they get their allocation. If that doesn’t work out it would be worthwhile contacting Biarritz themselves as I don’t think that Parc des Sports Aguiléra sold out the previous times we played.
How to get to the ground.
Biarritz plays its home matches at the Parc des Sports Aguiléra, which is a multi-use stadium in Biarritz and which has a capacity of around 13,500 people, though for games that need a larger capacity, Biarritz may play at the Estadio Anoeta in Donostia/San Sebastiá.
Where to stay.
Being a resort town Biarritz has a wide range of accommodation options from Youth Hostels and Camp Sites through to high quality Hotels. You can check out some of the options here.
San Sebastian used to be considerably less expensive for accommodation but it appears to have caught up over the last few years. It also offers a fairly wide range of options which you can view here.
We’ve stayed in both locations on previous trips and they both have a lot to offer. Biarritz certainly has a certain chic about it and it’s a good mix of sophistication and the surfer hippy cultures with bars and restaurants to suit all tastes. We have found the night life a little quiet though and there appears, in our experience anyway, to be a more varied and vibrant night life in San Sebastian. If you have time I strongly recommend staying in both locations for a period of your trip.
You can search for Biarritz Hotels below:
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After the match.
If the match is in Biarritz it is well worth making the effort to stay in Biarritz the night of the game as it is a superb rugby town.
Biarritz have made great efforts to enhance the match day experience at Parc des Sports Aguilera with plenty of options in the ground and it’s well worth hanging around after the match.
On all occasions we’ve found the players and supporters of the local side very friendly and welcoming, always taking time to chat with the visiting supporters. Afterwards I recommend heading down to the many bars and restaurants down towards the extensive sea front though it is well worthwhile having your transport sorted out in advance.
Haven’t been to a match in San Sebastian so no real recommendations for it.
Disclaimer. This guide is about our own personal preferences. Our preferences may or may not correspond to yours. We do not stand over anywhere that we recommend beyond the fact that we have enjoyed them in the past. If there is anything you disagree with or if there is anything you think we should include please contact us here.