Having explored quite a few villages and towns while housesitting for three months in Northern France, we were now keen to explore the coastal areas.
The day we chose our first venture was on the Squires birthday.
What better way to celebrate another milestone than a stroll along the beach. The day started off somewhat hopeful, with a bright, colourful sky and not too many figures below the minus sign. So with a blue sky and energy off we went to see what we thought of Le Touquet-Paris-Plage [commonly known just as Le Touquet] beach and town centre.
It is one of France’s oldest seaside resorts. With its pine woods, long, wide beach, golf courses, elegant avenues and quirky timbered buildings in the centre, it’s easy to see why a century ago it became popular with Parisians looking for some refreshing, healthy rest and relaxation.
Until F Scott Fitzgerald and friends made the Riviera a popular summer destination in the 1920s and 30s, the beau monde decamped here and to other resorts along the Channel like Deauville, Trouville, Cabourg, Dinard and Dieppe.
On entering the town, we could understand how previous notable visitors thought it worth their time to stay. The tree-lined streets made quite an architectural impact. What caught our eye next was the thatched cottages had a slight resemblance to the Devon and Cornwall homes we had seen.
On a clear day, I am sure we could glimpse the U.K., it’s so close to here.
The buildings around the town centre are sought after to view from enthusiasts of 1920-30’s architecture. Our first impressions were positive ones.
There were a few hardy souls that included us who ventured for a walk along the beach, using the man-made walkway.
With a high tide when we arrived, we were surprised to find there was ample beach to walk along. During low tide, a local lad told us that it goes out quite a long way, and it is possible to obtain some crabs. We took his word for it as we weren’t going to be able to stick around to find out nor did we have any inclination to do crabbing on a 1deg Friday morning in January.
After that brassing experience, we thought to ourselves
“Where on earth, is the nearest cafe?”.
So off we went to find it. A few blocks away, we did see. In the form of a small quaint cafe called “Elizabeth’s” selling cakes all the way from England. Ok, with our first reaction making us feel a wee bit disappointed. Then going back in the memory bank we remembered that we hadn’t been disappointed with an English cake or slice. With that thought, we entered as we were cold and in need of some caffeine more than cake. We were not disappointed and enjoyed both the coffee and the conversation with the coffee maker.
With a town reliant on weekend visitors and of course good weather guests, it was reasonably busy and with quite a few shops open. Next weekend there is a motorbike race on the beach so the place will be “pumping”, in the words of our local advisor. It was a busy event and such a contrast to our previous visit.
Now that we are aware of what’s there, we returned a few times with Louie and Nellie, who enjoyed the fresh sea air just as much as we did. They certainly lapped up the freedom that comes with a nearly deserted beach.