Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Biarritz, France

Biarritz is a town on the French coast.  It is situated in the Basque region, less than 20 kilometres from the border with Spain.  Home to around 25,000 residents, during the summer the population is swelled by visitors, drawn both by the town's elegance and by its surf.  Biarritz is proclaimed to be Europe's surfing capital.

I visited Biarritz in June 2013.  This is what I found.

Unsurprisingly for a town of this size, there are no trams.  Public transport is provided by five bus routes (with extra services during the high summer months).

The bus network, which also covers neighbouring Anglet and Bayonne, operates under the Chronoplus banner (website is currently only in French). 

The bus fleet comprises standard single-deckers.  Some have three sets of doors...


 ... while others have two



Biarritz railway station is around 3 kilometres from the town centre.  Route A1 provides the main link between the station and the centre of Biarritz, although route 10 provides a less frequent alternative.

The bus network in Biarritz operates seven days a week, however the services do not operate during the late evenings, while on Sundays the frequency is much reduced.

The fare structure on the Chronoplus network is very simple.  At the time of writing, a single ticket costs €1 and can is valid for an hour (including interchanges where necessary).  A 24-hour ticket is available for €2.  These can be bought from the driver.  Multi-journey tickets and longer period season tickets are also available from Chronoplus ticket outlets.  Tickets must be validated when boarding the bus (this includes tickets bought from the driver).

The regular bus network is complemented by a couple of free shuttles which operate around the town centre.  I observed minibuses being used on one of the services.


The other service was being operated with electric-powered midibuses.

Longer-distance services are provided by the Transports64 network (website in French).  However, these services don't reach the centre of Biarritz.  One route, linking Bayonne with the town of Hendaye on the border with Spain, calls at Biarritz railway station and airport.  Others start from Bayonne.  Through tickets from Chronoplus to Transports64 services can be bought on the buses.  At the time of writing these cost €5, and are valid for 24 hours.

Finally, for tourists, there is a road train (website in French only) which operates a circuit around the town and seafront.

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