Why and How to Visit Le Rocher de la Vierge Biarritz

Rocher de la Vierge illuminated during Biarritz en lumiere Christmas show in 2017

Are you visiting Biarritz France and the Basque Country soon? The Rocher de la Vierge is a must, as is the Grande Plage or Port des pêcheurs, the fishermen’s port.

Even if you live here like me, the walk from the lighthouse to the Basque Coast, via the Rock, is one of our favourites.

In this article, you will discover:

  • why visit Rocher de la Vierge, the rock of the Virgin Mary.
  • practical information to prepare your trip.
  • the history of the rock.

If you are looking for a hotel near the rock, read my article here

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Biarritz Basque Country Rocher de la Vierge

FAQ on Rocher de la Vierge.

Do you need to book in advance to visit Rocher de la Vierge?

No. The Rock of the Virgin is a free and open place you can visit 24 hours a day, except during big storms.

What’s the best way to see Rocher de la Vierge?

The best way is to walk along the ocean, from Biarritz lighthouse to Côte des Basques. You can also ask me to organise your Basque Country tour. Find the information here

What hotels are near Rocher de la Vierge?

The famous Biarritz palace hotel, Hotel du Palais, is near the rock. See other suggestions here

What attractions are near Rocher de la Vierge?

Musée de la Mer is on the opposite side of the road. Côte des basques, Port Vieux, Villa Belza, Port des pêcheurs, Grande Plage, Hôtel du Palais, the Russian church, Sainte eugénie church, Biarritz casino, the Empress chapel, Biarritz lighthouse, Biarritz markets are all situated at a walking distance. They are the main attractions in Biarritz. There’s also a lot of bars and restaurants.

Where are the Rocher de la Vierge and the Museum of the Sea?

The Rocher de la Vierge and the Museum of the Sea are situated in the centre of Biarritz, in the South-West of France, at about 10 minutes from La Grande Plage. They are situated face to face, the Rock being on the ocean side.

What is the Rocher de la Vierge?

It is a rock formation with a statue of the Virgin Mary, which is accessed via a metal footbridge. In English, you can translate it “the Rock of the Virgin”.

Le Rocher de la Vierge depuis le plateau de l'Atalaye Biarritz

Why you should visit Rocher de la Vierge?

The rock is one of the emblematic monuments of the Biarritz waterfront. It is a must see place for walks, 10 minutes from the Grande Plage. With a blue sky, after a storm, during a storm, with a few clouds, by rough sea or by calm sea, at sunset, the panorama is always different!

It offers a 360° view:

  • the ocean as far as the eye can see,
  • Landes beaches on clear days,
  • the Bayonne estuary and the beaches of Anglet,
  • the Biarritz lighthouse,
  • Miramar Beach,
  • Biarritz Grande Plage with Hôtel du Palais,
  • the Atalaye plateau,
  • the Museum of the Sea,
  • the beach of Port-Vieux,
  • the Villa Belza,
  • the Côte des Basques beach,
  • the Pyrenees,
  • the coast with Saint Jean de Luz, Hendaye and Spain on a clear day.
Pyrenees mountains from rocher de la Vierge
Pyrenees mountains with 3 Couronnes mountain on the right
Sunset on Pyrenees mountains
Sunset on Pyrenees mountains

It is one of the best places to enjoy Biarritz sunset.

How to organise your visit of Rocher de la Vierge?

Rates and opening hours.

The site is accessible free of charge and freely, at any time of the day or night. The only restriction is on days of severe storms when access may be prohibited because it is too dangerous.

How to access it?

The rock is located in the centre of Biarritz, about 10 minutes from the Grande Plage, between the Fishermen’s Port – port des pêcheurs – and the Old Port – Port Vieux – and opposite the Museum of the Sea.

You will have to walk to it. There are only a few parking spaces reserved for people with reduced mobility, the tourist train and buses. However, there are many paid and parking spaces throughout the centre.

You will arrive on the esplanade opposite the Museum of the Sea, cross the Eiffel footbridge, the tunnel under the Virgin and reach the end of the rock.

If you come with city buses, buses 10 and 13 drop off at Place Clémenceau, about 10 minutes from the rock.

You need a guide for your tour?

Contact me via the quote form below. I can organize for you a discovery tour of the Basque Country adapted to your needs and desires.

You will find more information in the section “tour the Basque Country“.

Biarritz sunset with Belza villa and Pyrenees mountains
Biarritz

Where to stay close to le Rocher de la Vierge?

Of course, the best choice is the only palace hotel and Napoleon’s house, Hotel du Palais.

Click here to see the availability for your dates here

The Windsor Grande Plage Biarritz is also a very good, less expensive, choice.

Check the availability for your trip here

You can see my suggestions of hotels and my review as an expert in customer relationship here

Biarritz sunset with Belza villa and Pyrenees mountains
Biarritz sunset from the Rock, with the famous Belza Villa

The history and legend of the rock.

You will find everywhere the legend of the rock, linked to the presence of the statue of the Virgin Mary: Biarrots fishermen, caught in a storm, saw their last hour coming. A miracle happened. A divine light led them to the port and they returned safely. They erected this statue in gratitude to the Virgin.

A lovely legend…

The true history of this rock and statue is linked to Napoleon III. Following the construction of his summer villa on the Grande Plage de Biarritz, his relatives and the greats of the other European courts wanted to do the same. The city became a fashionable seaside destination. Napoleon needed a port to accommodate his friends’ ships. The task was started, but several successive storms destroyed the protective dike. Napoleon surrendered to the force of the elements.

However, one of his Italian prince friends had sent a statue of the Virgin Mary to protect the harbour entrance. Napoleon installed it on the rock, looking at the entrance of Bayonne harbour, in order to protect the boats that leave it…

Rocher de la Vierge illuminated during Biarritz en lumiere Christmas show in 2017
The rock was illuminated during the 2017’s Christmas show

Conclusion.

You now know why and how to visit Rocher de la Vierge in Biarritz, as well as the history and legends of this magical place.

Have you ever visited Biarritz? Did you know the legend related to the Rock of the Virgin Mary? Do you have other visiting tips to share? Feel free to share it with us as a comment.

You can read my full guide to Biarritz here

Share this article with your family or friends who are planning their next trip to the south of France.

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Why and How to Visit Le Rocher de la Vierge Biarritz

2 thoughts on “Why and How to Visit Le Rocher de la Vierge Biarritz

  1. Hi Stéphanie,
    Thanks for your comprehensive article “Why And How To Visit Le Rocher De La Vierge Biarritz”. As you wrote, there is a “parking spaces reserved for people with reduced mobility, the tourist train and buses”, at the opposite side in front of the Museum of the Sea. I would like to ask : If is it allowed or possible for a tourist bus to stop at that marked parking space for only to drop off and board older passengers for visiting the site.
    Thank you so much for your cooperation.

    1. Hi Oved,
      Welcome 🙂
      And yes: when I lead group tours for local holiday villages, I always ask the driver to drop the group here. We park on the little train parking, not on the place for people with reduced mobility of course. Depending on the season, the bus stays there for the time of the visit and if the train arrives, the driver goes to a reserved bus parking – I am not sure if it is open again – or he made the turn of the city until the place is free again.
      We actually do it for all kind of groups as the driver stays in the bus and police allows it.
      Have a nice trip and don’t hesitate if you have other questions about the area!

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