Full summer obliges, the refreshing beaches of the north of France are very popular at the moment! And what about Le Touquet, the favourite destination of French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte? This charming seaside resort, which has been attracting thousands of tourists for over a century, has above all many assets. Glamour and cosiness, in a forest environment, close to Hardelot castle to the north and beaches to the south, this is what makes the stay a change of scenery
The capital's beach
In 1837, Alphonse Daloz bought the Domaine du Touquet, a dune complex on which he planted pine trees. A few years later, his friend Hippolyte de Villemessant, founder of Le Figaro, charmed by the place he nicknamed "L'Arcachon du Nord", convinced him to make it the capital's seaside resort. The city became Paris-Plage and has always claimed this vocation as a place of relaxation and leisure. Golf course, racecourse, tennis courts, luxury hotels and prestigious residences developed rapidly. Le Touquet was a testing ground for young architects who reconciled fantasy and respect for the natural environment. As the plots were narrow, it was on a vertical plane that the opulent villas were built, where lovers of the mundane life liked to take refuge.
A glamorous and timeless city
More glamorous than its neighbours Montreuil-sur-Mer or Boulogne-sur-Mer, Le Touquet Paris-Plage is timeless! The walk along the seawall sometimes resembles a parade of couples who compete in chic and pomp. With its buildings of all styles and its listed villas facing the sea, this often busy waterfront, dotted with merry-go-rounds and glaciers, and its leisure centre, is worth the detour. When the sky is clear, the spectacle of the sea rolling on the white sand or the sun plunging into the grey-blue waters is unforgettable. This prosperity thus goes back to the beginning of the 20th century and to the numerous constructions of the Roaring Twenties. No less than twenty buildings are listed in the inventory of Historic Monuments. Among them, the lighthouse of the Canche with its 274 steps, but also splendid villas with elaborate architecture, the colourful covered market or the audacious Town Hall. In Anglo-Norman style, it was built by the architects Drobecq and Debrouwer. It has a majestic 38-metre belfry and combines several different styles: the stones of Bainchtun and Hydrequent are typical of the region, the cemented wooden sections are of Norman style and the windows, ogival, typical of an English Gothic style
Moreover, Le Touquet always arouses the same enthusiasm among our British neighbours and it is not uncommon to hear Shakespeare's language in the famous and very commercial Saint-Jean street. Victorian-style houses have also bloomed along the wooded alleys and dunes, and are very popular with investors from across the Channel. Le Touquet boasts a social scene with its casino, luxury boutiques and palaces, and offers entertainment every day of the year. The resort has made a name for itself in the world of sport with its golf course, its water sports bases, its famous motorcycle race in the sand dunes, the Enduropale, but also its equestrian centre which hosts the International Jumping in early May. As the first means of locomotion to get to Le Touquet from Paris, horses have always enjoyed a special place in the rich life of the resort. The racecourse, built in 1925 by the Parisian architects Furiet and Pingusson, was equipped with Anglo-Norman-style grandstands classified as a historic monument in 1997. The installation was completed in the 1980s with the creation of an equestrian centre in a park that has become a great asset to the resort. You will also be able to put on your sneakers and take on the Baie de Canche Nature Park, a place of beauty in the Pointe Nord area with its multiple landscapes. Three loops of the Pine Grove, the Dune and the Corniche run through it. Distances vary from one to three kilometres. With its forty-five hectares of land, the Parc Naturel de la Baie de Canche is a must, and since 2009 it has benefited from a policy of development allowing easy access for pedestrians and cyclists. Nature lovers will be delighted. The various observatories offer a breathtaking view of the Bay of Canche estuary and its surroundings. Seals come to bask on the buckle. Thousands of migratory birds can also be observed.
Finally, culture also has its place in Le Touquet with, normally, a piano festival in the summer where more than two hundred artists take part and a renowned book fair which takes place in November. You should also go and have a look at the Le Touquet museum. It is a villa built in 1925 that houses this small museum. The school of Étaples is very present there with nearly 300 works by Henri le Sidaner, Eugène Chigot or Eugène Boudin who painted the Opal Coast. The museum also regularly schedules modern art exhibitions. The place to be you say!
When? We can go all year round. But June and September are certainly the most pleasant months.
Get there. To get to Le Touquet, take the train, bus or car (230 km north of Paris; take the A16, exit 26 for Le Touquet)
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