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Article written by Joëlle
@myhealthybangkok 

Does love at first sigh exist? If some  people experience the overwhelming sensation of “feeling home” when first meeting someone, I believe the same exists when it comes to places making you feel at home indeed.
I am based in Bangkok, yes, this is our home for now at least, but traveling has such an important part in our lives that I want to share our traveling experience more often with you guys. First, because we traveled miles and miles to end up here! And because traveling can have so many benefits on our mental health and beyond. That is even more true when we pick a destination that has it all, to make us feel good, regenerated, and alive.
Last month, we headed back to France. Paris first, and from there we took a 4-hour train to Biarritz, South-West of France in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques region. Biarritz is the ultimate European destination for surfers. Actually, as we discovered while dropping by La Maison du Surf, 1957 is the year that Surf arrived to Europe, through La Côte des Basques, known for its mythical waves.
Being French doesn’t mean that I have been everywhere in France and this was my first time in the Basque country. Love at first sight it was, and I don’t even surf 🙂

ALL-YOU-CAN FIT

As in… all things healthy you can fit into your schedule when visiting Biarritz.

First, if you are willing to learn how to surf, Biarritz is the perfect place to get started. La Maison du Surf is a good reference to check classes but there are many more options.

Fancy some yoga or running on the beach? Including The Miramar Beach and La Grande Plage, you have 6 beautiful beaches to explore, each with its own character.

For more yoga, but as group classes this time, the Lolë Atelier, besides selling quality yoga outfits has a schedule packed with classes to get you flowing!

And after all of that… if massages are what you are looking for (or some more Yoga maybe)? Om Studio would be an interesting place to drop by 😉

My main fitness activity during our trip there was walking. Everyday and everywhere. One of the advantages of being in a city of 11.6 square km, is you don’t need any transport but a good pair of shoes! Long daily walks by the shore, to the Markets (Les Halles de Biarritz) or up to the Etxola Bibi bar would for sure leave a positive mark on your already toned (and now tanned) beautiful legs!

GOING LOCAL

You haven’t been to Biarritz if you haven’t explored all the aisles at the Halles (the covered markets). A place where you will truly feel that a strong sense of tradition, respect for heritage, as well as a sense for celebration co-exist.

One of the two covered markets is dedicated to fish and seafood. Where you can buy for cooking later or just enjoy the present moment and have a glass of local wine together with your freshly shucked oysters. 

You will also see the label “AB” (Agriculture biologique) at every corner. Here, you have generations of farmers selling proudly their fresh produce. Fruit and veggies that taste heavenly, organic breads, gâteau basque (their traditional pastry) and of course, some specialties of the region such as cold cuts, chorizo, cheeses, and so on. A tip: go there with an empty stomach as there will be many pintxos on your way you won’t be able to ignore 🙂

I loved to see flowers and candles in the middle of it all, bringing some contrast and a touch of freshness too.

AND WELL, A BIT OF BALI

While the Biarrots are (and should be) proud of their culture, whether their linguistic heritage, and their agriculture, it is also a place that knows how to welcome the world!

And I am saying this with a particular place in mind called Bali Bowls, which fits in just nicely. Indeed, I learnt thanks to our friends at MAKAI Açaí & Superfood Bar here in Bangkok that Açai bowls were the typical surfers’ food in Hawaii, so it is only natural that they have travelled all the way to the Basque country, so surfers here too could have a taste of the good life. Bali Bowls is the first açai & smoothie bowl cafe in the heart of Biarritz.

Picture above from Bali Bowl’s website

VEGANS CAN SURVIVE 

Besides the predominant offer of Biarritz traditional food, vegans can nonetheless find many options for healthy, balanced and animal free meals…
The Beach Garden by La Grande Plage is a good option to start the day with a juice, smoothie or a piece of gluten-free brownie on the go (remember, you have some walking to do!). The same owner has a more chilled concept, a healthy bistro called La Cantine.
For an unforgettable meal and the best view… why not a picnic on the beach and watch the sun set?
To shop organic, I really liked the vibe at La Bonne Poire for fresh ingredients. Then, La Vie Claire (a group of organic stores in France) is there, not far from the Halles.

A VERY SPECIAL STORE 

One store that made it to the top my list is Aux herbes de Maria. What caught my eyes? Their selection of essential oils from Oshadhi and Le Gattilier, and also, the aura of Céline Rouan, offering consultations spefically for women, with her programme called “Etre femme”, based on   Simone de Beauvoir’s quote: “One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman”.

I am probably missing “a few” places and tips, so it is a good excuse to plan another trip next summer there 🙂

Let me know if you know the region and can share your favorite spots too. Bye for now!

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