Miremont: Biarritz, France

Biarritz, France. Queen of resorts and resort of kings. It's posher than posh, and has somehow managed to remain a bit frozen in its sparkling past.  So, on a recent trip there, one of my most knowledgeable and correct friends carried me to one of the city's institutions for lunch.  Miremont is a tea room and patisserie over 130 years old, and a place where tradition lives on, with views of the sea at that. This is the kind of place where old wrinkly ladies come alone for lunch, lazily staring past their Dior sunglasses out of the huge window that makes up the north-facing wall of the dining room.

First? Foie and champagne, duh! Served alongside housemade pan de mie, the best method is to heap a chunk of foie, press lightly but don't smear, and eat. For seconds, they have salads, sandwiches, and impeccably French stews served, well, correctly. As they should be. As always. It's that kind of place.

But the real reason to go to Miremont is the tea and the desserts. Even the most fanatic tea lover will be placated by the list (trust me, I was with him), and it comes accompanied by pieces of pasty art, like the berry and rhubarb tart below.

According to the website,

About this meeting place for all crowned heads, Rostand wrote that "at teatime, there are at Miremont fewer pastries than Queens and fewer rum babas than Grand Dukes. Young king Alfonso XIII would enjoy having lunch here, and appointed Miremont to the Royal House of Spain. H .M King Edward VII of England would stay every year at the Hotel du Palais but would remain faithfull to Miremont confections.

I believe it. These are pastries fit for royalty, that taste as good as they look. Which is saying a lot. This decadent chocolate dome had an interior of crunch cookie and caramel so rich you'll slap your dining companion on the shoulder and say "WHAT?!" Or maybe that's just what I do.

Then, after you are properly stuffed, you can stroll along the picturesque French promenade. Ah, satisfaction.