After a very disappointing start to our road trip, which included a pit stop in a La Rochelle truck stop for some much needed shut eye and then a waste of €100 at six o’clock in the morning for the five of us to sleep in a budget hotel until it was checkout time, we decided it was time to do a little planning.
With the sun and sand on our mind, we figured Biarritz should be our next stop. Only 2 hours south of Bordeaux made Biarritz look even better. It was only day two and we were already sick of being in the car! Next, we had to find a place that was a little more in our budget since we’d already went over budget for our seven hour nap and shower.
Then we found Camping Erreka. I think it was the website’s pictures of their pool that lured us in. When we called ahead, she took our name and said that there was one spot left for the night and she would save it for us. We were delighted and spent an extra hour in Bordeaux, enjoying a bottle of wine.
When we got to Biarritz, we came into a slight problem of where Camping Erreka actually was. We knew it was in Bidart, a nearby village, but had lost track of the signs heading there. Then, we simply asked a nice family that was walking along, of course the guys made sure that they said they were Irish and not English or American, since it’s a huge stereotype that the French aren’t as willing to help people with those accents! It must have been the luck of the Irish in our case because the family knew exactly where the campsites was and then told us that it was on their way and that they’d take us there.
The lady at reception welcomed us and then, as happy as we were to get out of the car, we went exploring. Along the back of the campsites, which were filled with either young surfing couples or small families with very big tents, there were a couple rows of bungalows with small porches and picnic tables. Then, on a hill overlooking the entire place, there was a pool, a play area with a bouncy castle, and a restaurant and bar.
Most of the staff was at the bar celebrating the end of the day with a few jugs of sangria. When we started to get our tents set up, my boyfriend and I realized that in our already stuffed luggage, we only had one sleeping bag and it was so thin it probably wouldn’t suit one of us, let alone both of us. We went to the reception to ask if there was anywhere close by that we could buy a sleeping bag, but she simply smiled and brought out extra blankets from behind her office.
Down the road from the campsite was a very nice pizza/sandwich shop which had a lovely sparkling rose wine for only €7 and a large pizza for about €8. The nice German waitress gave us the number of a taxi that would pick us up and take us into Biarritz. We quickly changed out of our smelly car clothes, and went to check out the nightlife in this beachside town.
Now, I am from Southern California and am used to the lit up piers and lively boardwalks, but Biarritz was like a beach for royalty. The entrance to the beach is marked with a huge Casino, but rather than the sometimes tacky designs of Vegas, this casino more like Monte Carlo and all the other buildings were uniform in design and architecture. Every few minutes the lighthouse shined its light on the sand displaying just how many people were out there, and then seconds later they disappeared into the shadows.
On the right was a stone large enough to have its own lighting system. To get to this mini island, there is a bridge cut right out of the rock so that it looks like it was there from the beginning of time and only redecorated to fit with the design of the boardwalk. Then, there are little stone stairways that lead to the top where a few benches offer themselves to those taking in the view. Opposite the beach and the lighthouse is the marina, hidden away like it didn’t follow the rest of the town’s designs and was banished to this corner.
On the main strip there are several little cafes and bars that seem so crowded that they will never see a closing time. There is a huge square which is more like a rectangle, but holds a simple, but beautiful gazebo, that I can only imagine must host at least a dozen weddings every summer month. The clubs are all down small alleyways and off the main roads, but until we found a drunken stag party stumble into one, we were sure that they didn’t exist at all.
In the end, we decided to pass on the clubs and head back to the campsite so we could get an early start to the next day. We also knew that the pool opened at 10 am and didn’t want to miss that.
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