My French home
September 27, 2007, 3:33 pm
Filed under: beach, biarritz, france, sport, travel

We arrived in Biarritz after an uneventful night in Bordeaux. The air smelt fresh like the sea. In comparison with the Cote d’Azur, I found le Pays Basque more laid back and less pretentious.

Biarritz is my kind of place. It’s a combination of the European sophistication I love about France, and Australia’s ‘life is good, why waste it inside?’ attitude. I feel at home here. I grew up by the beach, immersed in Australia’s surf culture, so Biarritz merges my positive memories of growing up with my fondness for European ideals.

We felt even more at home because France is hosting la coupe du monde de rugby, which by some twist of fate I worked as a reporter for in Australia in 2005. This means I have a passing interest in the sport, as opposed to the others played exclusively by guys, which I find more tedious than dealing with accountants.

There was some cultural mishmashing. I get all worked up about the UK’s disregard for the Pacific, so I found myself in a French bar eating Spanish Tapas, going for the Tongans versus the English. The UK has been good to me, but the Tongans are more worthy of support from Australia.

Perhaps it was because of the rugby or perhaps it’s just a welcoming region of France, but in Biarritz the locals were chatty. I asked a man to take a photo of Ian and I overlooking the bay, which led to a conversation that finished with our French photographer saying he was sorry to say it would be a final between France and England but he felt for us in our looming loss. He said this with a wincing, empathetic expression and his hand on his heart. I graciously thanked him for the photo and his condolences.


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