– You love the sea, captain. – Yes I love it, the sea is everything! Its breath is pure and healthy” wrote Jules Verne in Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. Discovering our Hôtel Littéraire in Biarritz is entering into the world of a writer who had the genius to make the improbable believable. It’s participating in an adventure of Amazing Voyages, or setting off on a journey from the Earth to the Moon, or in Michael Strogoff‘s tundra. Let our team guide you, so you can live this unique experience on the Basque coast.

Edwige Dupuch, Director of Hôtel Littéraire Jules Verne

78 rooms
1 appartment
Belle Époque fitness room
(photos by Georges Ancely)
Outdoor heated pool
Culinary specialties of the Basque country
Presentation

The 6th Literary Hotel in the collection opens its doors in Biarritz, on the Basque coast, to pay tribute to the author of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, and Around the World in Eighty Days.

Completely renovated by the decorator Aleth Prime, and with 78 rooms – including an independent apartment, an outdoor swimming pool and a fitness room, the hotel is ideally located in the city centre of Biarritz, very close to the Atlantic Ocean.

A new four-star address in this superb coastal town, which invites everyone to an “amazing journey” in the rediscovered universe of Jules Verne.

“- You love the sea, captain.
Yes! I love it! The sea is everything! It covers seven tenths of the terrestrial globe. Its breath is pure and healthy. It is an immense desert, where man is never lonely, for he feels life stirring on all sides. The sea is only the embodiment of a supernatural and wonderful existence. It is nothing but love and emotion; it is the living infinite, as one of your poets has said.

Jules Verne, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea

Decoration and atmosphere signed by Aleth Prime, the Hôtels Littéraires designer

Aleth Prime brings the enchanted world of Jules Verne to life, drawing inspiration from his novels, all of which are invitations to travel and adventure. The entrance area is exotic, with tropical forest wallpaper patterns. The reception desk bears the writer’s signature in relief and Nadar’s photographic portrait by him, not far from the library, with colourful book covers by Hetzel publications.

The restaurant pays tribute to Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and Captain Nemo’s Nautilus, with its coral wallpapers and window displays depicting the seabed seen from a porthole. A world map with luminous points retraces the itineraries of all of the “Amazing Journeys”.

In the breakfast and co-working room, the theme relates to Jules Verne’s air journeys, whose novels are populated with balloons, aerostats and flying machines, up to the space cannon featuring in From the Earth to the Moon.

The fitness room recreates a coastal resort from the Belle Époque, adorned with pictures by photographer Georges Ancely, who stayed in Biarritz from 1880 to 1895, with views of the Port Vieux and the Grande Plage.

Journey to discover the novels of Jules Verne

The hotel’s three floors each have 25 rooms, bearing the names of the sixty or so Vernian novels of the “Amazing Journeys”, with maritime, fantasy or geographical décor.

The first floor groups together Jules Verne’s books about the sea and his innumerable ships, with works as varied as Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, The Survivors of the Chancellor, and A Captain at Fifteen. These maritime tales are united with the island adventures dear to the writer, joining forces with the heroes of The Mysterious Island and Two Years’ Vacation.

The second floor focuses on Jules Verne’s fantasy novels, which touch on science fiction and the extremes, from the poles to volcanoes, from the depths of the Earth to the Moon, with titles such as An Antarctic Mystery, Journey to the Centre of the Earth, and Carpathian Castle.

The third floor is about the geographical exploration of the World aboard the extraordinary machines that Jules Verne invented, from the elephant of The Steam House to the SS Great Eastern of The Floating City, in pursuit of the Around the World in Eighty Days, or along The Mighty Orinoco.

Other rooms celebrate Jules Verne’s inspirers and admirers, such as the poet and short story writer Edgar Allan Poe, the explorer Jacques Arago, the publisher Pierre-Jules Hetzel, the writers-geographers Elisée Reclus and Julien Gracq, or the intrepid reporter Nellie Bly.

Personalised rooms: the watercolours of Jean Aubertin

Each of the rooms in our Hôtels Littéraires has an original watercolour signed by the artist Jean Aubertin, designed especially for them.

The Jules Verne hotel’s 78 rooms are all dedicated to a work or a character, illustrated with a watercolour by the artist, who has reinterpreted them in a personal and contemporary way.

A framed tablet offers a summary of the book and an emblematic quote, making you want to pick up the copy of the novel lying on the bedside table, and inviting you to dream and read.

For the bedrooms, Aleth Prime has designed a headboard reminiscent of the colourful book covers of the publisher Hetzel, where the hot-air balloon from Five Weeks in a Balloon mixes with the multi-propeller Albatross from Robur the Conqueror, above a terrestrial globe.

The writer’s signature is inscribed on the bed linen, while frames dedicated to the legendary illustrations from his novels and the decorative covers from his books adorn the walls.

The window displays in the bathroom again depict Robur’s flying machine, which rises in the air to reveal his invention to two bewildered travellers, in front of a mirror that resembles a porthole of the Nautilus from Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.

A unique collection of the most beautiful Hetzel book covers

Bibliophiles know the beauty of the book bindings produced by the publisher of Jules Verne’s novels, designed by Pierre-Jules Hetzel with a range of splendid decorations in bright colours. “À l’obus”, “aux deux éléphants”, “au globe doré” and “dos au phare” are the collectors’ magic and mysterious passwords to find themselves in this complex labyrinth.

Jacques Letertre, president of Société des Hôtels Littéraires, has assembled a superb collection of all of Jules Verne’s titles for the hotel. These first editions of double volumes with prestigious plates are displayed in showcases. They reveal the extraordinary variety of these decorations, worthy of the extraordinary adventures told by the writer to readers of all ages, and embellished with drawings signed by the best illustrators of the time.

A multilingual library of 500 books

In addition to the books available in the rooms, the hotel libraries offer a wide variety of editions and titles for readers from all over the world. Jules Verne is the most translated French author in the world, and his novels in English and Spanish are made available to travellers who wish to (re)read Around the World in Eighty Days, Journey to the Centre of the Earth or The Green Ray. Junior editions are available for children of all ages, as well as enjoyable illustrated pocket editions for reading in the library or by the pool.

Ideally situated in the city centre of Biarritz next to the Asiatica Museum, the Hôtel Littéraire Jules Verne is located in a residential area with a tranquil atmosphere.

Less than 7 minutes from the Grande Plage and the casino, it is easy to take a stroll to admire the beauties of the sea and the coastal villas. Just ten minutes’ walk away, you can also enjoy the bustle of the shops and festive nightlife of Les Halles.

If you want to explore the region and its history, the graceful city of Bayonne with its so pervasive Basque identity is only 10 minutes by car from Biarritz. The imperial peak road leads to the typical villages of the hinterland, such as Cambo-les-Bains, and the Villa Arnaga of the poet Edmond Rostand. Further along, the charming villages of Espelette and Sarre will delight enthusiasts. On the little Rhune train, a rack railway, you can discover the beauties of the Pyrenees. The port city of Saint-Jean de Luz preserves the memory of the royal wedding of Louis XIV, and Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, at the foot of the Col de Roncesvalles, unites the pilgrims of Saint-James, looking to cross over the Pyrenees. Further on, just cross the Spanish border to San Sebastian to change the scenery and enjoy its splendid beaches, and its historic centre and tapas bars.


Biarritz, Belle-Époque coastal resort

With the arrival of Napoleon III and the Empress Eugenie in the 19th century, the former small Basque coast fishing port became very prosperous. The imperial couple chose Biarritz as their summer resort, and built the Villa Eugénie in 1854.

At the time when bathing in the sea was becoming popular, “the queen of beaches and the beach of kings” was in fashion, and the town became a veritable coastal resort, hosting many European crowned heads, from Queen Victoria to Empress Sissi.

Biarritz had an intense social life, filled with villas of eclectic styles, giving it the aspect that we know today with, for example, its famous Rocher de la Vierge. The photographer Georges Ancely immortalised the elegance of this era with the pictures he took of everyday life.

Later on, the Villa Eugénie became the luxurious Hôtel du Palais, not far from the Bellevue casino and the new Coco Chanel boutique. People danced there a lot during the Roaring Twenties, as Biarritz was a party town, and an unmissable destination.

Today, the pearl of the Basque coast shines with all of its lights in the setting of its bay, bordered by the Atlantic Ocean.

 

Biarritz, surf capital and golfing pioneer

Although Biarritz was for a short time the capital of the world during the G7 summit in 2019, it is above all famous as the capital of surfing. The late 1950s saw the appearance of the first surfboards in Biarritz, imported by Americans, who were shooting a film. The first world championships were organised, and the destination became international. Surfers can enjoy the many neighbouring beaches, in Anglet, Guéthary or Hendaye, ideal for board sports enthusiasts, with an infinite number of wave styles.

The Basque coast is also famous for its golf courses. The Golf du Phare in Biarritz opened in 1888, followed closely by Pau, thanks to English visitors eager to practice their favourite sport during their holidays. Fifteen other courses are scattered throughout the region, from Pau to Saint-Jean de Luz, and from Moliets to Arcangues, which you can discover with the Golf Pass.

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