Le Touquet revisited

The small town of Le Touquet on the northern French coast used to be a fairly regular destination for Linda and myself as flyers. We’d go two or three times a year at least, so it’s hard to believe that the last time we visited was April 2010. Armed with a revalidated licence and with the added bonus of Auntie Nic looking after Megan for a couple of days it seemed the time was ripe to make another trip to the Cote d’Opale.

The Westminster Hotel

The Westminster Hotel. Nice, if a tiny bit pricey.

Of course, the plan wouldn’t necessarily work would it? The aircraft planned to fly turned out not to be available. Typical. Plan B was for us to drive and use the EuroTunnel, and it’s a bit of a sad indictment of my attitude to flying these days that I justified this by saying “well it’s only an hour or so longer door-to-door than flying”. At the end of the 5hr drive though was the promise of Le Touquet, some French sunshine, boulangeries and a night in the biggest hotel in town – somewhere we’d walked past many times but never stayed in.

Travelling down was a breeze – even the M25 was co-operating. This posed a problem in that we had a 90min wait for our train, but not really a problem. A coffee and stroll later and we were on board and under the English Channel – not quite what we had in mind, normally we are a minimum of 2000ft above it! Driving in France was OK and we were soon in Le Touquet and parked up at the Westminster Hotel.

Le Touquet itself hasn’t really changed in all the times we’ve been. They’ve done some work to pedestrianise sections, but that doesn’t seem to stop people driving down there. The streets are narrow and the array of architecture is bewildering to put it mildly. The seafront especially has an eclectic mix of high-rise concrete apartment blocks and historic townhouses, all sitting side by side.

La Poissonerie

The Fish Market was busy in town.

The beach is golden sand and stretches for miles and miles down the French coast. Summer holidays were in full swing but still the place wasn’t too crowded. We wandered around, sat on the sand dunes, had an ice cream and headed back to the hotel for a swim before dinner in La Matisse which was as good as we remembered it.

Whilst in Le Touquet I was looking to shoot some numbers for an upcoming Club competition, but there wasn’t much to be found. I’ve got a few but nothing wow. I also wanted to try some minimalistic shots of the beachline and sky, which were good. Clicking on either of the images in this blog post will take you to the gallery.

After a leisurely morning in Le Touquet visiting the markets and stocking up on wine it was time to pile back into the car and head home. The only stress on the journey home was the carnage at Calais where both French Douanes and the UK Border Force conspired to make a process which took 30 seconds in Folkestone over 30mins. This time we were the last car onto the train and made it with 8 minutes to spare. Too tight for my liking but it was the only problem of the whole trip – otherwise we sailed through.

Overall the travel time door-to-door was just shy of 5hrs on the way home. This compares with a flying time of 1:20 as we used to do it, but when you add driving to the airfield and getting to the aircraft (40mins), pre-flight walkaround (30mins), post-flight admin (30mins), walk to the hotel (30mins) and not to mention all the pre-flight preparation to be done at home prior such as filing flight plans, checking weather etc. it was about an hour longer to drive. Hmmmm, not how I used to think but maybe I’m getting old and responsible now Megan is around…

Driving or flying though I’d receommend a day or two in Le Touquet. It has charm everywhere, lots and lots of restaurants, cafés and bars plus a sandy beach for the kids and lots of interesting things to see and do. Go take a visit!


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