Le Touquet Paris Plage in Winter

Last December, the wife and I went to the seaside at Le Touquet Paris Plage. You can tell it’s “Paris Plage” because of the huge Eiffel Tower on the seafront. The polystyrene work of art was crafted by Alain Godon, a local artist who seems to be very popular. Everywhere you go around Le Touquet, you’re bound to find his works in the streets, in shops and even museum stores. I’m not sure I’m crazy about this sculpture. The way Godon distorts buildings reminded me of another artist, Linda McCluskey, I’d met rue de Rivoli in Paris nearly 10 years ago.

Le Touquet Paris Plage in Winter

Here’s what France 3 TV channel’s website says about it:

Alain Godon is a humble artist: for him, there is nothing complicated about it. Yet he has created a 9.5-metre Eiffel Tower, built from polystyrene blocks, resin and sand. Located on the Place du Centenaire, opposite the Aqualud, the construction was called “Tour Paris-Plage”.

A true link between Le Touquet and Paris, this sculpture is a reference to the history of the seaside resort: Le Touquet-Paris-Plage. “It’s a symbol of Paris because it was the Parisians who first built houses on these deserted dunes over a hundred years ago,” explains the artist. “It was also for a very long time the capital of French and even European seaside resorts.

If Le Touquet Paris Plage once was “the capital of French and even European seaside resorts”, things aren’t quite what they used to be. That said the town grows from approx 4,000 inhabitants in Winter to close to 250,000 in Summer. You bet it’s still popular.

Le Touquet Paris Plage in Winter
Tourist in his anorak looking into the distance for a bit of warmth amidst a sand storm

The place is indeed very popular amongst the upper class and we mingled with it for a week. We even passed by our President’s Summer house.

Le Touquet Paris Plage
Emmanuel Macron’s house. The picture is pretty lousy on account of the fact that I didn’t want to spend too much time taking pictures and attract the attention of the cops and gendarmes in arms next to me.
Le Touquet Paris Plage in Winter
Further away on the seafront in the midst of a 50mph sandstorm sculpting the dunes
Remnants of the beach huts from the 1930s. These small shacks are quite iconic over there apparently.

Here is what Le Touquet’s tourist information has to say about it:

VIC Location since 1928, with the iconic VIC green and white beach hut, the last traditional beach attendant (“plagiste”) in France renting beach huts and canvas tents, deckchairs dating back to the 1930s.

I can’t say we made the most of our time by the seaside for the weather was quite grotty, even though the temperatures were incredibly mild for the season, courtesy of global warming and Cop 26. Yet, on that day one could catch a glimpse of the inimitable light of the Côte d’Opale, which attracted so many artists at the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth centuries.

I recommend the exhibition of paintings at the Touquet museum. This picture, entitled “Dunes” is by Chester Coleman Hayes (USA, 1867-1947). Hayes was a renowned painter on both sides of the Atlantic. He was granted the Legion of Honour.

This post is also available in: Français

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2 Comments

  1. How lovely it would be to walk along the beach on a mild winter afternoon. The crash of the waves on the shore and the breeze in your hair. Thank you. Peace.

    • Thanks Clayton, it’s quite pleasant when it’s mild indeed. From my office window I can see daisies and roses out there in our garden. How strange the the weather be so mild for this time of year (daisies usually appear towards the end of March over here). Global warming has its advantages and its downsides too.

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