When rugby players change direction: our best Nouvelle-Aquitaine addresses

When competition time is over, the stars of the oval ball welcome you to their fiefdom. Here’s my selection of the best Nouvelle-Aquitaine haunts for tourists run by former rugby players. Hotels, camp sites, restaurants and bars… these athletes throw open the doors to their ever-so friendly, chic, gourmet atmospheres where there’s something for everyone!

Have a break and pamper yourself at Serge Blanco’s

Former international and key player in a myriad of French victories in the Five Nations Tournament, he is also the former President of the French National Rugby League. He has opened several prestigious hotels as well as a thalassotherapy centre.

Château de Brindos **** in Anglet-Biarritz

Château de Brindos

Château de Brindos

Hôtel résidence Serge Blanco Ibaia *** in Hendaye

Hôtel résidence Serge Blanco Ibaia

Hôtel résidence Serge Blanco Ibaia ***

Hôtel & Spa **** Serge Blanco in Hendaye

HÔTEL & SPA **** SERGE BLANCO
Hôtel & Spa **** Serge Blanco

Worth a visit close by:

Saint-Jean-de-Luz, Bayonne, Basque Country seaside resorts, small inland villages with their brightly-coloured facades like Espelette and La Bas-tide-Clairence, the Citadel of Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port at the foot of the Pyrénées and the must-not-miss villa Arnaga in Cambo-les-Bains.

Lunch at Christian Duplaissy’s

He first played rugby for Bègles before joining the Aviron Bayonnais Club. Dis-covering the Basque Country was a real eye-opener for him as he would go on to finish off his sports career in Saint-Jean-de-Luz and Biarritz. He owns two establishments :

Ostalamer Restaurant in Saint Jean De Luz

Ostalamer
Ostalamer Restaurant

Ostalapia Farm in Ahetze

Ferme Ostalapia
Ostalapia Farm

Worth a visit close by :

Bayonne, Anglet and Biarritz, small in-land villages with their brightly-coloured facades like Sare and Ainhoa, the Citadel of Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port at the foot of the Pyrénées and the must-not-miss climb up La Rhune on the little train.

La Mer Camp Site with Philippe Bernat-Salles

Philippe Bernat-Salles, probably the fastest winger in French rugby history, spent some 20 years on the pitches and was Champion of France in 2002 with the Biarritz Olympique Pays Basque. He runs La Mer camp site in Labenne-Océan in the Landes.

La Mer Camp site *** in Labenne-Océan

Camping La Mer
La Mer Camp Site

Worth a visit close by:
Orx Marsh Nature Reserve, an outstan-ding bird sanctuary. The spa towns of Dax and Mont-de-Mar-san, the surfing spots on the exquisite Hossegor and Biscarrosse beaches.

Philippe Etchebest

Philippe Etchebest, a former French boxer and rugby player is a renowned chef. He owns the brasserie Le Quatrième Mur in Bordeaux, which has been awarded a Mi-chelin plate and his Table d’Hôtes, located in the basement, gained a Michelin Star.

Le Quatrième Mur in Bordeaux

Quatrième Mur

Worth a visit close by:
The Cité du vin, Saint-Emilion, the fortress-town of Blaye and its UNESCO-listed World Heritage Citadel, Arcachon Bay, the wine routes and their exceptional wine estates (Medoc, Entre-deux-mers, Sauternes, Grave, etc.), Cognac

Pierre Albaladejo

Fly-half from the 1950s to the mid-1960s, he forever remained loyal to his club US Dax and was one of the players when France won during the Five Nations Tour-nament (1954, 1960, 1961 and 1962). He went on to become a radio and TV sports presenter and President of the French Rugby Federation Ethics Committee.
He owns two camp sites in the Landes.

Eurosol **** in Saint Girons Plage

Camping Eurosol
Camping Eurosol

Les Chênes **** in Dax

Camping Les Chênes
Camping Les Chênes

Worth a visit close by:
The spa town of Dax and Le Splendid Ho-tel & Spa, a 1920s palace and world-re-nowned Art Deco masterpiece, Mont-de-Marsan a medieval town well-known for its ferias, the surfing spots and amazing beaches at Hossegor, Capbreton and Biscarosse, the famous Moliets and Seignosse golf courses, Labastide-d’Ar-magnac, Marquèze ecomuseum.

Imanol Harinordoquy

He played as third-row centre and third-row winger for the Section Paloise then for Biarritz Olympique and Stade Toulou-sain; he was in the squad which won two French Championships, five Six Nations Tournaments and he played in a Rugby World Cup final. He has launched his own clothing line and organizes coaching ses-sions for young players. He has also opened a wine cellar.

« Les Contrebandiers » in Biarritz

Les contrebandiers

Facebook Page « Les Contrebandiers »

Worth a visit close by :
The breathtaking panoramas of the coastal trail from Bidart to Hendaye, passing through Saint-Jean-de-Luz and Ciboure, the small inland villages at-tached to their tradition such as Itxas-sou and Ustaritz, the Citadel of Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port at the foot of the Pyrénées, and the must-not-miss climb up La Rhune on the little train

Marc Lievremont

A third-row winger, he was recruited by Stade Français in 1997, went on to beco-me French Champion and played in the French Cup final. He played in the 1998 Grand Slam and the 1999 World Cup. When he was coach for the French team, they won their ninth Grand Slam during the 2010 Six Nations Tournament and reached the final of the 2011 World CupHe has opened a restaurant in Biarritz, hand-in-hand with his brother Thomas.


The Bar de la Côte in Biarritz


The Bar de la Côte

Dimitri Yachvili

Dimitri, born into a family of rugby players, began his career at CAB Brive then played for the French team as scrum-half and at Biarritz Olympique until 2014. He won the Grand Slam twice with the French team and took part in two European Cup finals and the 2011 World Cup final. Afterwards, he became a consultant for beIN Sports and commented the major matches and key European encounters. Dimitri Yachvili runs a camp site in Biarritz:


Biarritz Camping

Biarritz Camping

Worth a visit close by:
Bayonne, Anglet and Biarritz, small in-land villages with their brightly-coloured facades like Sare and Ainhoa, the Citadel of Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port at the foot of the Pyrénées and the must-not-miss climb up La Rhune on the little train.

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