Le Touquet-Paris-Plage, commonly known as the “Le Touquet”, is a famous city in the Pas-de-Calais department in northern France. Le Touquet is located on the Opal Coast (in French: Côte d’Opale).
The city is reputed to be the most elegant holiday resort of northern France, the playground of rich Parisians, with many luxury hotels.
The Westminster hotel in Le Touquet seduces for its charm from the 30′.
Since the mid-1990s, Le Touquet’s villas have become extremely fashionable amongst architecture lovers throughout Europe, rediscovering the “folie” of seaside architecture of both the Roaring Twenties and the Thirties. The most famous local architect is Louis Quetelart, whose style was named after him: Louis Quetelart Style.
The resort was created in 1876 by Hippolyte de Villemessant (1812-1879), founder and owner of the famous Paris newspaper, Le Figaro. Everything started in October 1874 when his friend Jean-Baptiste Daloz invited him in his property in Le Touquet for a hunting party. Impressed by the exceptional beauty of the setting, Hippolyte de Villemessant suggested his friend to create a holiday resort and to name it « Paris-Plage ». This is how Jean-Baptiste Daloz created, in 1882, the first housing development.
In April 1837, Jean-Baptiste Daloz bought a huge land and planted, from 1855 to 1882, maritime pines, poplar and alder trees on more than 800 hectares. It’s him who created the famous forest of Le Touquet, which stabilized the sand dunes. Today, these 800 hectares are still covered by this forest.
“Le Touquet” comes from a Picard word meaning ‘corner’, and was originally applied to the area of coast nearby. It became known as “Paris by the sea”, and strict building regulations encouraged the most talented architects to create imaginative and innovative developments.
In 1903, an Englishman bought the land, and set out to sell properties to the rich from across the English Channel. In the 1920s, Noël Coward and the “smart set” from England spent weekends here, and commissioned more outstanding villa designs echoing traditional and ultra-modern domestic styles. Today the town tourist office offers organised trails to see outstanding examples of 19th and 20th century domestic architecture, which are now preserved and protected. Sayaji Rao III Gaekwar of Baroda also owned a house.
The famous houses in Le Touquet facing the beach.
Each year take place in Le Touquet the following events:
- A collection of giant sand sculptures from May to September. The theme is different every time. For more information, click on this link: http://arras-france.com/sand-sculptures-in-le-touquet-city-northern-france/
- The ‘Enduropale‘, undoubtedly the most prestigious motor bike racing event in the world. The race takes place every year, in February. For 3 hours, more than 800 bike riders from all over the world race on an incredibly difficult track on the beaches of north France. For more information about the Enduropale, click on this link: http://arras-france.com/the-enduropale-in-le-touquet/
- A kite world Championship in Berck-sur-Mer, a nearby city. The 24th edition (10-18 April 2010) was won by a British six man team called ‘The Scratch Bunnies’. Click on this link to watch pictures: http://arras-france.com/the-city-of-berck-sur-mer-kite-world-championship/
The market hall in Le Touquet (picture above).
Le Touquet’s main road: the road Saint Jean (in French: rue Saint Jean).
For more information about Le Touquet, you can visit the official website: http://www.letouquet.com/