It roared in the Twenties, but now fashionable French seaside resort Le Touquet is ready to be rediscovered
- Popular in the Roaring Twenties, Le Touquet is now more down to earth
- Spend your days strolling the pearly white beach, with its colourful huts
- You can also enjoy also seal watching, surfing and thalasso-therapy
Le Touquet, a seaside resort on the Opal Coast in the north of France, feels serene one minute, daring and racy the next.
There’s more than a nod to the roaring Twenties when Europe’s rich and famous came here to carouse on the sands, gamble in casinos and party into the night.
But the place had a shaky start.
Chic: Beach huts on the seafront at Le Touquet, on the Opal Coast in northern France
In 1836, a French lawyer bought land here planning to farm.
But the earth was too sandy, so he planted a forest of maritime pines to stabilise the dunes.
Eventually visitors could enjoy walks in the woods as well as along the pearly white beach.
By 1904, Le Touquet had become a desirable resort among the elite and the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VIII) was a regular visitor. Now, it’s where the fashionable French come for ‘le cure’.
There is a state-of-the-art thalasso-therapy centre at the Novotel right on the beach — the powers of sea water promise to sort out everything from arthritis to bad skin.
Wandering around the hotel in towelling robes is considered normal. Golf courses here are good, too.
From Le Touquet visitors, can enjoy seal-watching expeditions, wakeboarding and surfing
There are also seal-watching expeditions, wakeboarding and surfing. I prefer to take wilder walks along La Canche (a coastal river). The place to stay is the Hotel Westminster.
Its picture gallery features Marlene Dietrich, Edith Piaf and Ian Fleming, and there’s a wonderful metal cage lift straight out of a Maigret film.
In Les Sports bistro, on Rue St. Jean, the boss yells instructions at busy waiters as he prepares plates of steak tartare at the bar.
There’s plenty to take home too, from delicious chocolates at Au Chat Bleu to beautiful chinaware at Table & Porcelaine.
The French have it right, Le Touquet is indeed ‘ le cure’.
Travel Facts: Plan your own trip to Le Touquet
Take a car through the Eurotunnel (eurotunnel.com, 08443 35 35 35) from £23 each way.
Novotel Thalassa Le Touquet (novotel.com, 0033 3 21 09 85 00) has weekend offers from £170 per room. More information at letouquet.com.