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Le Touquet today Architecrurally, not that much has changed though the biggest difference of the last 100 years is the disappearance of the Royal Picardy Hotel. Opened in 1930 it was a magnet for the wealthiest people. It was at the time the biggest hotel in the world with more than 500 rooms and apartments so large they had their own swimming pools – 50 of them. There were 120 public lounges and more bars and restaurants than anyone can remember. Cole Porter stayed here and wrote “Anything Goes” on the piano at the casino across the road. It was majestic, splendid and grandiose on a supersize scale. Alas it was destroyed during WWII and what remains is now apartments and shops. The grand villas and Belle Epoque market, the casinos and the fabulous Westminster Hotel, the tennis courts and swimming pools, golf resort Inaugurated by British Prime Minister Lord Balfour in 1904) and horse racecourse all remain and if Winston Churchill was to return (as he so often did), he would still recognise it from its glory days. What to see in Le Touquet There’s a 7km long beach of soft white sand with pretty little beach huts, a water theme park on the beach with heated pools and a choice of spas are on offer. Climb the 274 step lighthouse for jaw-dropping views over the countryside and coast. Take the little train ride around Le Touquet to view some of the magnificent turreted buildings in the town and the forest on the outskirts of the centre.
The streets are filled with chic French boutiques where you can buy Donna Karen and Chanel alongside less expensive but equally stylish brands. There are specialist food shops, chocolatiers, wine caves and some of the best patisseries I’ve ever come across in France. Head to rue Metz for gourmet cakes, marshmallow creations, artisan chocolate, and artisan food shops that are simply irresistible. The Saturday morning market in a listed covered art deco market is superb. Golf course La Mer (18 holes) is rated in the top one 100 courses in continental Europe and has fabulous views over the sea, plus a great clubhouse. There’s also La Foret (18 holes) and Le Manoir (9 holes). Golf Le Touquet is an open golf club and attracts players from all over Europe. There’s a friendly atmosphere and rumour has it a certain golf loving British Royal prince is to be seen on one of the courses from time to time! There’s also a yacht club that’s open to all, boat rides, sailing lessons, tennis centre with more than 30 courts. And if you need a bit of a pick me up, try the Thalasso Therapy Spa right on the beach, created by Tour de France rider Louison Bobbet and located in the avenue named after him. The famous seaweed treatments will have you feeling sparkling and sprightly. And, when you want to take a break, there are excellent restaurants from the Michelin starred Le Pavillon in the Westminster Hotel to the famous fish restaurant Chez Perard (Lord Alan Sugar’s favourite, he’s often seen in there) to bistros specialising in classic French dishes.
At £535,000 this gorgeous chateau
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