Official – Biarritz one of Europe’s top romantic destinations

Biarritz romantic destinations EuropeIt may not – should not – come as a great surprise.

But Biarritz features high on a new list of Europe’s most romantic destinations.

Ok, it is true that this stunning resort in French Basque country close to the Spanish border is not top of the list. That honour, perhaps understandably, goes to Venice.

Nor is Biarritz named as the best of the French romantic destinations in Europe, that prize going to Paris instead.

But the French Atlantic surfing resort does come in at a very creditable sixth in the list, just behind London and ahead of places such as Florence, Rome, Budapest, Prague and Vienna.

This list of romantic destination was compiled by European Best Destinations, a Brussels-based travel organisation whose aim is to ‘to promote culture and tourism in Europe … [i]n partnership with the participating tourism offices’.

In its citation the organisation describes Biarritz as the ‘pearl of the Atlantic’ which ‘surfs on a wave of effervescent youth’.

Then it adds: ‘Biarritz offers itself, and offers us, the tonic blast of a region of unselfconscious luxury, the slightest hint of glam rock. Its mild climate and the beauty of its coastline, its curved inlets, punctuated by rocky outcrops, and the great events that it hosts, make Biarritz a destination of enchantment at any time of year.’

Well, I guess we get the idea!

Biarritz certainly won’t be raising any eyebrows or questions about European Best Destinations’ slightly curious disruption of it.

After all, last year the very same organisation named Biarritz’s Grande Plage beach as the sixth best beach in Europe and the top beach in France.

Top ten beach resort, now one of Europe’s most romantic destinations… Biarritz must be doing something right!

Photo of Biarritz: Florian Pépellin /Wiki


Real medieval village found at Puy de Fou theme park

medieval village Bérard Puy de FouThe Puy de Fou historical theme park is one of the most popular leisure and tourist attractions in France.

This park in the Vendée, not far from the Atlantic coast, has made its reputation on its exciting representations of periods in French history stretching back many centuries.

Now the traces of a real medieval village have been uncovered right next to this leisure park situated between Cholet and La Roche-sur-Yon.

The 14th century village in question was called Bérard and remains of it were unearthed during routine archaeological searches carried out before the construction of a new show arena at the park.

Its discovery did not come as a complete surprise to Puy de Fou’s president Nicolas de Villiers, who is the son of the park’s founder, the politician Phillippe de Villiers.

‘We knew there was a legend [about the existence of the village] when we bought the land,’ says Nicolas de Villiers, interviewed by Ouest France.

‘A lot of people talked about it in the farms around here.’

In fact, senior staff at the leisure site had done all they could to find the ‘missing’ medieval village over the years, even using a hot-air balloon to give them an aerial view.

But to no avail.

‘We said to ourselves that if it really existed we’d have found to by now,’ says de Villiers.

But then came the exciting discovery of an old farmhouse – lived in by prosperous farmers apparently – which proved that the legend was based on truth.

Fortunately for Puy de Fou the most interesting parts of the finds were unearthed outside the area of the planned show arena, work on which can thus continue.

The medieval village itself will one day probably be incorporated into Puy de Fou’s themed attractions and opened to the public.

However, one great mystery still remains over the prosperous village of Bérard … just what caused it to vanish from history in the 16th century (its stones were reputedly used to help build the château at Puy de Fou)?

Perhaps we can expect the answer to be unveiled in a future show …

Photo of Puy de Fou show: Midx1004/Wiki

‘The Charlie Prize’ – in memory of…

Je suis Charlie Festival Bande DessineeIt is hardly surprising that the Festival International de Bande Dessinée, which begins on January 29 and runs for four days in the town of Angoulême, would be deeply affected by the murderous events at the offices of the satirical weekly magazine Charlie Hebdo.

The annual festival, which draws artists, illustrators and fans in their tens of thousands from around the world, celebrates illustration and the drawing of cartoons and comics with exhibitions, artist signings and competitions.

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