One of the most attractive tourist destinations in France for both foreign tourists and the French themselves is the coast of the Atlantic Ocean (where France borders on Spain, namely the Basque Country), in particular, the city of Anglet, located on the shores of the Bay of Biscay (department Atlantic Pyrenees (Pyrénées-Atlantiques), Nouvelle-Aquitaine region.
Anglet, a resort town known for its wide sandy beaches, became a particularly popular place during the “Beautiful Era”, when residents of the urbanized neighbouring resort towns of Biarritz and Bayonne chose to go there “for a breath of clean countryside air.”
The main part of the economy of Anglet is a regional international airport – Biarritz Pays Basque Airport, also known as Biarritz Airport or Biarritz-Parme Airport. This airport serves all Atlantic resorts in the southwest coast of France. The airport is served by numerous European hubs.
Anglet also houses the factory of one of the largest French aircraft manufacturers, DASSAULT AVIATION, making the city one of the leaders in the high-tech industry in France.
Claude Olive, Mayor of Anglet, told us about he city´s main projects and attractions.
Interview: Irina Rybalchenko for El Periòdic News
Anglet is a city for surfers. Are there many surf schools? In anticipation of the summer holidays, we would be interesting to know how much surf lessons cost.
Anglet completely lives up to its nickname of “little California.” Surfing is everywhere here. This is the real art of living! Anglet and surfing share a common history, an integral part of their DNA. Anglet has all the best surf spots in the world and its famous Anglet Surf Avenue, where the footprints of the most prestigious wave hunters are exposed.
There are 16 surf schools along the 4.5 km of beaches with state-qualified instructors who welcome children from 5 years old and adults, beginners or advanced surfers. Some also offer paddle rides, bodysurfing, bodyboarding lessons, individual surfing coaching and handi-surfing.
As for the prices, on average, excluding July-August holidays: Week 5X1h30: €150 per person / Weekend 2X1h30: €75 per person.
Are you planning any international competitions this summer?
- RIP CURL PRO ANGLET – Free – From August 21, 2023, to August 27, 2023
International professional surfing competition (QS 3,000), female and male, of the World Surf League. The Pro Anglet was born in 2015 from the common desire of the city and the WSL to put Anglet and the Basque Coast back at the heart of the professional surfing qualifying circuit. Since then, the competition has become one of the most important events of the European season on Golden Sands Beach.
- CARAÏBOS NIGHT SURF ANGLET – Free August 26, 2023
Professional surfing competition at night, with luminous boards equipped with colored LEDs and luminous balloons. A historical event of the Chambre d’Amour for more than 20 years, Night Surfing takes place over one evening. The involvement of the World Surf League has made it possible to introduce this unique show to an international audience.
But also …
- INTERNATIONAL SURF FILM FESTIVAL – Free – From July 07, 2023, to July 10, 2023
Screenings of free films on the big screen in the open air. This unmissable event (19th edition) of the French and European surf scene presents and rewards the best surf films, between fiction and documentaries.
At the cultural level, concerts and shows are offered at the Quintaou Theater (Théâtre Quintaou). Exhibitions are also organized.
Anglet has the particularity of offering a contemporary art center with the Villa Beatrix Enea and the brand-new Galerie Pompidou, which currently houses the works of Daniel Buren, a French conceptual artist.
Some questions about the economy of the city. The crisis provoked by the situation in Ukraine requires urgent measures and strategic decisions to strengthen French sovereignty in energy, industrial technology and food security. The European Union is faced with completely abandoning Russian oil and gas supply until 2027. But 2027 is still a long way off… Speaking specifically about your city, Anglet, how did the global economic crisis affect it? Have there been any cases of closing small business companies?
First, a health crisis brought many upheavals, including a certain economic fragility accentuated by the Ukrainian conflict.
Anglet is located in a dynamic economic territory. We have noticed some changes, but no major upheaval.
At the community level, rising energy prices (electricity, gasoline, etc.) also disrupt the budget, which needs to be adapted. Also note the rise in interest rates at the banking level, which is slowing down the growth of the real estate sector.
What are the key indicators of the city’s economy?
The tourism sector represents 20% of economic activity.
More than 20,000 jobs are divided into sectors: 54% relate to trade, services and transport, 26% relate to health, social action and administration, 3% relate to industry (particularly aeronautics), and 7% to construction.
For example, I can mention the Dassault Aviation factory, a flagship of French aeronautics, which employs 900 people and produces parts for the Falcon jets and Rafale aircraft.
Thus, 4,000 companies are listed, and 400 hectares are dedicated to artisan activity zones.
What are the turnovers of the international Biarritz Pays Basque airport?
The airport is managed by an independent labor union, even if it is located at 80% of the territory of Anglet. In 2022, the number of passengers at Biarritz Pays Basque Airport reached one million. It is the second airport in the Aquitaine region. New lines and significant security and baggage management investments were opened this year.
Tell us more about Anglet University. Are there foreign students?
The University of Pau and Pays de l’Adour is in Anglet through the Montaury campus. There are nearly 3,000 students, including foreign ones. There are three different establishments. At the UFR of Sciences and Techniques of the Basque Coast, we are taught biology, environmental sciences, chemistry, physics, logistics, construction and civil engineering (bachelor, professional licenses and master).
I want to note the importance of the ISA BTP (Institut Supérieur Aquitaine du Bâtiment et des Travaux Publics). It is a post-baccalaureate engineering school accredited by the Engineering degrees commission (CTI) and approved by the Polytechnic Institute of Bordeaux (Bordeaux INP). It trains specialists in civil engineering, marine engineering and housing, energy and the environment.
Let’s return to tourism. How many tourists visit your beautiful city every year?
According to Flux Vision Tourisme – Service Observatoire Adt64, we had 8,175,000 visitors in 2022, including 860,000 tourists and 7,315,000 day travelers with 1,043,000 overnight stays (excluding Airbnb).
What is the price of real estate in Anglet (compared to Bayonne and Biarritz)? Is there a lot of land for sale?
To this day, the housing issue remains relevant locally and nationally!
Concerning Anglet and, in particular, its accumulation, there is a high demand for housing due to the region’s attractiveness. We are indeed in a very tense situation.
In addition, we must comply with the Local Housing Plan, which imposes some obligations on the municipalities for annual developments, that is, more than 300 housing units for Anglet.
Moreover, our building regulations are strict: build the city on the city, using commercial wastelands, for example. We, therefore, have a complex equation to solve: produce a maximum of accessible housing without concrete our territories and preserve the quality of life! The advantage of Anglet is to be very extensive. It offers many individual houses in more than 700 hectares of non-constructible natural spaces.
Concerning a building business, it is necessary to promote a public-private partnership.
About 3 years ago, you told me about your plans to create a new district, Cœur de Sutar. Has this idea been implemented?
This new area has just been inaugurated. It is a new place to live, a kind of response of the city of Anglet to the needs of its inhabitants, combining a pleasant living environment and proximity adapted to the way of life and the new use of society. On an area of approximately 26,500 m², it includes 71 housing units, three commercial and office buildings and a kindergarten.
The total investment exceeded 5,300,000 euros, excluding the land offered by the city, as part of a financial package that Office 64 could implement with a 10% subsidy and 15% share capital. The rest was covered by a loan of 4 million euros.
What investment projects could interest the city?
Anglet wishes to diversify and increase its accommodation offer. The municipality works and develops eco-districts. We want to support investors with concepts such as surf camps or ecolodges.