Beach, Sea View
Biarritz Central Beach
Vikings who invaded Gascony in 840
settled in Biarritz, which later
participated in the whaling trade.
Biarritz is a Basque name with
locative suffix -itz attested
Bearriz in 1170, Bearids in 1186,
Bearritz in 1249. The Scandinavians
settled in the area above the
Gardague Beach. It has been
suggested (disputedly) that the
remaining Vikings became "Agots," a
social group in Gascony not allowed
to mix with the population at large.
Segregation among these communities
there were many in Gascony and
Navarra disappeared only in the
early 20th century.
Biarritz has long made its fortune
from the sea: as a whaling
settlement from the twelfth century
onwards, in the 18th century doctors
recommended that the ocean at
Biarritz had therapeutic properties,
inspiring patients to make
pilgrimages to the beach for alleged
cures for their ailments.