Le Touquet

Le Touquet-Paris-Plage (French pronunciation: ​[lə tukɛ paʁi plaʒ]; Picard: Ech Toutchet-Paris-Plache; West Flemish: Het Hoekske), commonly referred to as Le Touquet (/lə tʊk/), is a commune near Étaples, in the Pas-de-Calais department in northern France. It has a population of 4,244[3] but welcomes up to 250,000 people during the summer.[4]

Le Touquet-Paris-Plage

Het Hoekske
Beach of Le Touquet
Beach of Le Touquet
Coat of arms of Le Touquet-Paris-Plage
Coat of arms
Location of Le Touquet-Paris-Plage
Le Touquet-Paris-Plage is located in France
Le Touquet-Paris-Plage
Le Touquet-Paris-Plage
Le Touquet-Paris-Plage is located in Hauts-de-France
Le Touquet-Paris-Plage
Le Touquet-Paris-Plage
Coordinates: 50°31′07″N 1°35′42″E / 50.5186°N 1.595000°E / 50.5186; 1.595000Coordinates: 50°31′07″N 1°35′42″E / 50.5186°N 1.595000°E / 50.5186; 1.595000
CountryFrance
RegionHauts-de-France
DepartmentPas-de-Calais
ArrondissementMontreuil
CantonÉtaples
IntercommunalityCA Deux Baies en Montreuillois
Government
 • Mayor (2020–2026) Daniel Fasquelle[1]
Area
1
15.31 km2 (5.91 sq mi)
Population
 (Jan. 2018)[2]
4,229
 • Density280/km2 (720/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+01:00 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+02:00 (CEST)
INSEE/Postal code
62826 /62520
Elevation0–42 m (0–138 ft)
(avg. 5 m or 16 ft)
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km2 (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.

Located on the Opal Coast, south of Boulogne-sur-Mer, on the shoreline of the English Channel, the seaside resort has been nicknamed the "Garden of the English Channel" (French: Jardin de la Manche), the "Pearl of the Opal Coast" (French: Perle de la Côte d'Opale), the "Sports Paradise" (French: Paradis des sports) or the "Four Seasons Resort" (French: Station des quatre saisons). Although nowadays dominated by buildings from the 1950s to the 1980s, a number of unique villas have still been preserved that evoke the seaside architecture of the Roaring Twenties and the 1930s. Le Touquet possesses an important architectural heritage of Anglo-Norman style and twenty-one buildings protected as historical monuments which make it the most awarded French bathing resort.

Hôtel Barrière Le Westminster, Le Touquet

Origins of the townEdit

The town of Le Touquet was given its full name by Hippolyte de Villemessant (1812–1879), founder and owner of the Paris newspaper Le Figaro. At the time it was an area of wild sand dunes and forest – part of a hunting estate. Its name came 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 1894 John Robinson Whitley and Allen Stoneham bought a stretch of coastal land, through their company Le Touquet Syndicate Ltd, and developed the town into a golf and gambling resort.

Resort and the wealthy BritishEdit

In 1909, H. G. Wells and Amber Reeves fled to Le Touquet in an abortive elopement.[citation needed] The two returned to Britain after a number of weeks and Reeves later gave birth to Wells's daughter, Anna-Jane Blanco White, after the relationship ended.

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 here.

P. G. Wodehouse lived in Le Touquet from 1934 to 1940 until he was interned by the German army.[5]

World War IEdit

During most of World War I, Le Touquet was the home of the Duchess of Westminster's (No 1 British Red Cross Society) Hospital for wounded British troops. The #2 Canadian Stationary Hospital had the distinction of being the first Canadian Unit to land on French soil. No. 2 Stationary opened at the Hotel du Golf at Le Touquet on November 27, 1914. All the 142 British Commonwealth war graves in Le Touquet's Communal Cemetery in Avenue de 18 Jun are from the hospitals. The graves occupy a plot by the cemetery entrance. (The cemetery also contains French and Italian war graves.) In the same cemetery a wooden obelisk was erected by the commune's lifeboatmen in honour of the British dead.[6]

World War IIEdit

From 1940 to 1944, more than 40,000 German soldiers occupied the town.

In 1943, they demolished the prestigious Atlantic Hotel at the behest of the Organisation Todt and then shipped valuable construction materials from the demolition to Germany in train cars marked as bearing “gifts from the French for their German friends.”

The Atlantic Wall was completed in 1943 and the first Allied bombs hit Le Touquet on October 2, 1943. In June 1944, allied bombings were particularly intense, causing immense damage and many deaths.[7]

SportEdit

MotorsportEdit

Every year in February, an off-road motorcycle and quad beach race called Enduropale (formerly Enduro du Touquet) is held along the beach and through the dunes, with some 1,000 motorbikes, Quad bikes and 250,000 spectators.[8]

CyclingEdit

Le Touquet has been host to four stages of the Tour de France. The resort first hosted a stage during the 1971 Tour de France, as the finish for Stage 6b, from Amiens, on 2 July. Following this, the resort hosted Stage 3 of the 1976 Tour de France, on 27 June. This was a 37 kilometres (23 mi) individual time trial which both started and finished at the resort. The following day, Le Touquet was the departure point for the fourth stage, to Bornem in Belgium. The 2014 Tour de France began Stage 4 at Le Touquet on 8 July, with the stage taking a 163.5 kilometres (101.6 mi) route to Lille Métropole.[9]

TennisEdit

The Le Touquet Tennis Club is the home of international tournaments. It has 33 courts (25 clay courts and 8 indoor courts), 2 club-houses, 1 central court with 900 places, 2 paddle-tennis courts and 4 mini tennis courts.

MiscellaneousEdit

Inland from the beach, hotels, a casino and a horse racing course, a wide range of sports, particularly golf are offered. The Casino de la forêt provided the inspiration for the casino of Royale-les-Eaux in Casino Royale.

Notable peopleEdit

Twin townsEdit

Le Touquet participates in international town twinning; its current partners are:

TransportationEdit

Le Touquet is served by Le Touquet - Côte d'Opale Airport. Le Touquet airport is a popular destination for British private pilots due to its geographical proximity to the UK, often becoming the first overseas flight destination.

Trains operated by SNCF operate to Étaples-Le Touquet in the adjacent town of Étaples. These operate from Paris Gare du Nord to Boulogne-Ville (Intercités); from Boulogne-Ville to Arras (TER Nord-Pas-de-Calais); from Lille Flandres to Calais-Ville (TER Nord-Pas-de-Calais); and from Étaples-Le Touquet to Lille Europe (TERGV).

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Répertoire national des élus: les maires". data.gouv.fr, Plateforme ouverte des données publiques françaises (in French). 2 December 2020.
  2. ^ "Populations légales 2018". INSEE. 28 December 2020.
  3. ^ annee=2016&depcom=62826 Institut National de la Statistique et des Etudes Economiques : Populations Légales 2016 de la Commune : 62826 : Le Touquet-Paris-Plage Retrieved 20 January 2010
  4. ^ Tuesday, July 8th - Stage 4 - Le Touquet-Paris-Plage / Lille Métropole Archived 2014-07-05 at the Wayback Machine www.letour.fr, July 2014
  5. ^ [1] "In Defense of P. G. Wodehouse"
  6. ^ [2] CWGC Cemetery Report.
  7. ^ Paradis, Thierry (2008). Le Touquet occupé. Le Touquet-Paris-Plage. Imprimerie Barnéoud. ISBN 978-2-9530502-0-2.
  8. ^ "Enduro du Touquet". letouquet-holidays.co.uk. Archived from the original on 2 March 2016. Retrieved 21 February 2016.
  9. ^ "Stage 4: Le Touquet-Paris-Plage to Lille Métropole". Tour de France. Amaury Sport Organisation. Archived from the original on 5 July 2014. Retrieved 8 July 2014.
  10. ^ "Association Christian Ferras". Associationferras.com. Retrieved 2011-08-10.
  11. ^ von Bodenhausen, Baroness Reihild, PG Wodehouse: The Unknown Years, Stamford Lake.
  12. ^ Macron Country - Brittany: Why this region of progressive, lapsed Catholics was a Macron stronghold., Jean-Marie Pottier (Slate.fr), Slate.Com, 2017-05-09

External linksEdit