Guided tour of the main attractions of the seaside resort of Le Touquet
Le Touquet is one of our favourite seaside towns on the north coast of France. It has a great mix of sandy beach, chic shops, lively bars and restaurants and some fabulous 'belle-epoque' style villas. It's full name is Le-Touquet-Paris-Plage, giving you a hint to its status as a top seaside destination for Parisians who regularly descend to Le Touquet for the weekend.
The start of your visit to Le Touquet may well involve hitting the beach. Stretching out all along the front of the town the beach is a lovely sandy one unlike some of those to the west which are pebble beaches. Along the seafront is a mix of attractive villas and modern appartment blocks.
In the streets immediately behind the beach is the very vibrant heart of Le Touquet. The main streets are thronged with people on a sunny day and the bars are packed with people sat enjoying the sunshine and a spot of people-watching. Restaurants cater to all tastes with moules-frites being a popular choice but with a wide range to choose from.
Interesting boutiques will tempt you inside to try on some chic French fashions or to look for gifts to take back home. There are also plenty of French patissiers and ice-cream shops if you are feeling a bit peckish!
Development of LeTouquet really began in the late 19th century but it was the 1920s when many of its historic buildings were built. From the begining it had a strong British influence and many rich and famous Britains comissioned villas to be built here. Le Touquet was enormously popular with the rich and fashionable of the 1920s and its attraction continues both with British holidaymakers and as a weekend retreat for chic Parisians.
The villas of the 'Belle Epoque' period are what gives Le Touquet its charm and sets it apart from other towns on the coast. A tourist guide can help you to discover the best of them. 'La Poste' is one of the municipal villas and sits at the heart of Le Touquet and 'Le Castel' near to the town hall is one of the most eccentric.
Another very eccentric building is the Le Touquet town hall and belfry built in 1931. Set slightly away from the busy shopping and beachfront areas of Le Touquet the area around the town hall is very peaceful. Next to the Town Hall are the Ypres gardens - a nice park area in front of an elegant white mansion. The gardens are called the 'Jardin d'Ypres' because during the war the land was turned into a vast potato garden to feed the refugees from Ypres in neighbouring Belgium!
Continuing your walk away from the coastline you will come to the quirky 'Village Suisse' which was built in 1906 and is now home to a restaurant of the same name and various shops. Almost opposite here is the Westminster Hotel - the hotel to stay in if you want to indulge in a little luxury during your stay. The Westminster was built in 1924 and has welcomed the likes of: Lord Mountbatten, the Aga Khan, Marlene Dietrich, Winston Churchill and Sean Connery (who signed his first James Bond contract here).
Speaking of James Bond ..., the Casino du Palais was the inspiration of Ian Fleming's Casino Royale! As well as being a casino the Palais des Congres is also home to the tourist office of Le Touquet.
Opposite the Casino is the fashionable, architect row of shops, the Avenue du Verger.
Market days in Le-Touquet are Tuesday and Saturday mornings and are held in the unusual, semi-circular covered market built in 1932.
For more information about the town see the Le-Touquet tourist guide.