Le Touquet Northern France: Style and Substance

Written by on July 26, 2017 in Nord-Pas de Calais

I like Le Touquet Paris-Plage on the Opal Coast, northern France, actually I love Le Touquet. If I had pots of money this is probably where I’d live, or Paris, of course, much like President Macron of France. He lives in Paris but his holiday home is in Le Touquet. It’s a rather posh seaside resort but it has soul. It’s coiffed but it’s not phoney. It’s pretty but it’s not an empty vessel.

Sun, sea and sand: Well it certainly has the last two and the sun, yes, it has that too. Though this is northern France and the weather is not unlike Cornwall, it seems Le Touquet has its own micro-climate and always feels that bit warmer and sunnier.

All year round entertainment: check. There’s something going on here pretty much every day of the year. It is, I think, a legacy of the days when this place was THE destination of jet setters in the early 1900s. Marlene Dietrich partied here, Cole Porter played the piano in the casino and Winston Churchill sipped Champagne in local restaurants. HG Wells turned up to elope… and, I could go on but take it from me, this place is where you went if you were the Kim Kardashian or the Justin Bieber of the early 20th century.

There are festivals, concerts, exhibitions, sports tournaments and a whole heap more going on all year round from wine tasting to book fairs to sports championships.

Sports: Tennis (check out the  +100 year old courts), horse riding, horse racing, wind surfing, sailing, golf – you name it, this place covers your sports fix. The resort was created with sports in mind, one of the first leisure holiday destinations to do that, the Queen of England learned to sand yacht here! The esplanade is great for a gentle stroll or go further and head for the famous dunes close by in Hardelot, just round the coast.

Gastronomy: There are some brilliant boulangeries and patisseries here. I find them utterly irresistible and pop in to take photos – a lot. Of course I have to try the cakes and bread too.

There are some great cafes and restaurants here too including Perard, the best fish restaurant in France. And it’s not just me that says it – ask regular customer Lord Alan Sugar. You’ll find this restaurant at 67 rue Jean de Metz. Blink as you walk down this picturesque, vibrant little street and you might miss it, though if you see the sun sparkling off the shiny, swish oyster bar, or the gleaming brass rails of the brasserie you’ll probably stop in your tracks as I did and go “wow”. Perard is a legend in the north of France and well known in Paris for the amazing fish soup they make – it’s exported to restaurants and shops around the world. But here in little Le Touquet, they make a more local soup on the premises, a spicy soup in which you can taste mussels and lobster and lots of other fish, it’s one of their best sellers and it’s truly scrumptious. You can buy some to take home, it’s a steal at 5 euros a litre. Order it in the restaurant and they encourage you to have more. In fact you can have as much soup as you like and when I said no because I wanted to leave room for my main dish, the waitress was actually disappointed. As you’d expect it’s a mostly fish menu including real bouillabaise, the best I’ve had outside Marseille. There’s also a fabulous outdoor barbecue area with a glass roof for those rainy days.

Enjoy a glass of wine and  fresh fish at the bar and if you love oysters then you’re in for a treat because they have the best here, in fact, they’re so precious they arrive hallmarked!

Le Touquet might be a tiny town but it really is quite lovely.

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