The Good Life France Magazine

The Good Life France Magazine brings you the best of France - inspirational and exclusive features, fabulous photos, mouth-watering recipes, tips, guides, ideas and much more...

Published by the award winning team at The Good Life France

1 year ago

Issue No. 13

A fun and festive edition: Provence, Christmas markets, brilliant book nooks in Paris, recipes, expat stories to inspire and a whole lot more - fall in love with France with us.

Le Touquet is a small

Le Touquet is a small seaside town with around 5000 inhabitants, though in summer months, that number swells to a whopping 100,000 as this place is hugely popular with Parisians. Hence it’s full name Le Touquet Paris-Plage, the Paris beach. An all year-round resort, at Christmas visitors flock to enjoy the lights, the market and the special ambience of Le Touquet which is known as the “pearl of the Opal Coast”. Le Touquet has bags of charm and is quite unique amongst the many charming seaside towns of France. For one thing it has a certain English je ne sais quoi. A unique “English” seaside resort in France That’s because the town was developed by an Englishman to have appeal for Brits at the beginning of the 20th century. You’ll spot Cotswold style cottages, thatched roofs, tudor style manor houses and coiffed English style gardens – not quite what you’d expect to see in a northern French seaside resort. But it works. Somehow, the Englishness wedded to the Frenchness in the shape of an abundant café lifestyle, restaurants galore, a wonderful street market and fabulous French shops – is a marriage made in heaven. Sporting Paradise The Le Touquet resort was designed with sports in mind. At a time when people were just starting to see sport as a recreational hobby, the creators of Le Touquet were way ahead of their time. Tennis courts, a horse race course, swimming pools, polo, horse riding, golf – everything designed to please the the wealthy of the day. It’s rumoured that Queen Elizabeth II learned to sand yacht here as a teenager! It still is a sporting paradise and hosts major tennis matches, has a 65 acre equestrian centre, three fantastic golf courses and water sports galore. It also is where Enduropale takes place - a legend in France. Around 1000 professional and amateur bikers and 800 quad bikers take part in a beach race at the start of the year in an event that kick starts the global motorsport season.

Historic and very very chic Le Touquet attracted wealthy visitors right from the get-go. It was the place where jetsetters went to see and be seen. Hollywood celebrities, millionaires, politicians, anyone who was anyone came here to play. Author Ian Fleming wrote Casino Royale based on Le Touquet’s casino, where coincidentally Cole Porter wrote the music for “Anything Goes” on the casino piano. Sean Connery came here to sign his first James Bond contract. Serge Gainsbourg got his big break singing in a restaurant here. Winston Churchill spent summers in Le Touquet and once claimed that so many members of Parliament were there on holiday that he might as well move the business of Government there. Writer HG Wells eloped to Le Touquet and the Dolly sisters, vaudeville performers who captured the hearts of men around the world strolled along the front with their pet tortoises set with a pair of four-carat blue diamonds by Cartier, given to them by millionaire Harry Selfridge, of London Selfridges fame when he took them there on holiday. Of course all these people needed places to stay and Le Touquet in the early 1900s boasted the biggest hotel in the world. Le Royal Picardy had 500 bedrooms and every one of them had a private bathroom. In 1930 when it opened – that was unheard of. There were 120 lounges. And, 50 apartments that were so large that each one of them had its own swimming pool as well as a kitchen, and 10 more rooms including for one’s butler. If you was disgustingly rich in those days – you stayed at this hotel. Sadly it is no more but another famous hotel of the day survived - The Westminster whose art deco halls are lined with signed photographs of past guests from Marlene Dietrich to Roger Moore and Charles de Gaulle.

Copied successfully!