Abuzz all year round, the gorgeous seaside resort of Le Touquet-Paris-Plage, in Pas-de-Calais, is a paradise for sports, nature, culture, leisure and the taste buds… what’s not to love? Here are 10 reasons to plan your visit
1. Fun on the beach
Sand-yachting is one of Le Touquet’s flagship sports – have a go at it yourself along 7km of golden sand or time your visit to coincide with one of the thrilling competitions. Or perhaps a horseback ride along the beach is more your speed? Throughout summer there are plenty of organised sports events such as beach volleyball competitions, as well as children’s beach clubs.
Take a guided walk though the city to discover its amazing architecture. From the Canche Lighthouse to the Paris-Plage Tower, you will discover some marvels, such as the elegant Art Deco façade of the Hôtel Westminster, and the Swiss Village, a cluster of three chalets built in 1905-1906 by Paul Bertrand.
3. Baie de Canche
At Le Touquet’s northern tip, the Canche Bay Nature Park reveals all the beauty of this ever-changing landscape. Stretching across more than 45 hectares, it’s a wonderful spot for pedestrians, cyclists, joggers and nature-lovers. There’s also a fitness trail dotted with exercise apparatus and a watersports centre. Observatories offer breathtaking views over the estuary – look out for can spot seals basking on the sand bank and the thousands of migratory birds.
Enjoy a gourmet meal in one of the 70 restaurants to taste some sweet specialities of the region in the shops and cafés. Sweet-toothed visitors can indulge in chocolates, crêpes, or delicious pastries from Opaline, or a homemade sorbet from Kokoa, Les Mignardises or Des Lys du Touquet. Visit La Manufacture du Touquet, where master biscuit makers create sweet and savoury morsels. And be sure to see the thriving covered market on Rue Jean Monnet.
Go shopping in the city (from Place de l’Hermitage to Place du Centenaire via the Quartier Quentovic and Rue St Jean). The streets of Le Touquet-Paris-Plage can be likened to an open-air shopping centre. Everywhere you look, a boutique beckons you to step inside and treat yourself to something nice.
6. Natural beauty
Between shoreline and forest, Le Touquet is a choice holiday spot any time of year and deserves its nickname of ‘Channel Gardens’. With its cottages blending harmoniously into the pine forest landscape (great for exploring on bike or foot) and its elegant parks and gardens, the resort has a discreet charm. Then there’s the beach – 11km of fine sand and dunes, connecting Canche Bay in the north to Stella-Plage in the south. Watch out for flora and fauna, such as great spotted woodpeckers, ringneck snakes and orchids.
7. Sports for all
Le Touquet is truly a sports heaven, with no shortage of activities to enjoy! It’s so good, the English national rugby team has chosen it as its base camp during this year’s World Cup. Hit a ball on one of the most beautiful golf courses in the region, or serve up a volley at one of the 23 clay tennis courts. If you want to obtain your coastal boating licence or simply rent out a kayak, canoe, paddleboard, pedalo, catamaran, sailing dinghy or windsurf board, the Canche Bay watersports centre is the place to be.
From Place du Centenaire on the seafront, to the Jardin des Arts just a stone’s throw from Rue Saint-Jean, art is everywhere in Le Touquet-Paris-Plage. The Museum of modern and contemporary art nestling in the forest, and the multiple art galleries, are proof that the resort has inspired painters, sculptors and photographers ever since its creation. In fact, it was Le Touquet native Édouard Lévêque (1857-1936), a painter and writer from, who came up with the ‘Opal Coast’ to emphasise the light with which these shores are blessed.
9. The lighthouse
Visit the lighthouse and climb the 274 steps to enjoy breathtaking views of the city and the sea. This architectural gem stands 57m tall and was designed in 1947 by the architect Louis Quételart.
10. Events all year round
Le Touquet is buzzing with events all year round. To name a few, there’s the Enduropale; Winter & Summer Jazz festivals; Touquet Music Beach Festival; Christmas lights; and Pianofolies.
For more information, visit letouquet.com
Lead photo credit : Elegant Le Touquet on the Côte d'Opale © Touquet & Co
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