France seems to feature a lot in our travel plans, and one of the easiest illustrations of this is the annual day trip to Boulogne-sur-Mer with Sheila and Andrew to stock the Galleywood cellar (okay, garage) with the alcoholic stuff. However, this summer we’ve boarded Le Shuttle twice. The first was on 3 July, but this weekend we were in the northeastern town again, although not before we’d driven a few miles further southwest down the coast to Le Touquet (or Le Touquet-Paris-Plage to give it its full name).
A place of childhood memories for Nik, the seaside resort has a reputation as the most elegant holiday resort of northern France, and is often seen (according to Wikipedia) as ‘the playground of rich Parisians’, with many luxury hotels. Chic and well-to-do it may be, and no doubt even chicer in the summer sunshine, but we weren’t shortchanged yesterday with the weather. With the sun making the golden sands look much more yellow than they probably were, we had no right to be walking along the beach’s wooden boardwalk in such unseasonal weather (fierce wind notwithstanding) for late September.
Walking past the 1930s style beach huts, you really do get a sense of past glamour and chic. Nearby Hardelot is dotted with fashionable villas in tree-lined avenues, and it’s the same in Le Touquet. With architects drawn to the town’s strict planning regulations, it’s quite unlike Boulogne, which is where we ended up for supper, sitting as we always do, in the shadow of the once major port’s Italian-inspired cathedral. Getting on the fuss-free Euro Tunnel service meant we could enjoy a long and late meal, and leave sated and relaxed for the short journey home.