With the Rugby World Cup taking place in France this September, rugby fans from across the world are descending on the land of Liberté, Egalité and Fraternité for the biggest event in rugby.
Each of the 20 teams participating in the world cup has chosen a basecamp at a different location across France. For the UK and Ireland, Scotland is based in Nice, Wales in Versailles, Ireland in Tours, and England in the glamorous coastal resort of Le Touquet.
A Touch of Class
A popular seaside resort since the Belle Epoque era, it is not hard to see why Le Touquet is known as the Pearl of the Cote d’Opale. After driving down the wide, Hollywood-esque boulevards and through Le Touquet’s dense pine forest, beautiful houses of all shapes and sizes nestled amongst the trees, the elegant and opulent town appears in all its dazzling glory. The well-manicured lawns, immaculate streets and magnificent “Touquettoise” architecture are the definition of grandeur, and the designer shops and gourmet restaurants found throughout are testament to the town’s reputation as a celebrity hotspot.
Le Touquet has had a close relationship with England for over 100 years, and it is no surprise that the England squad have chosen here as their basecamp. In the early 20th century, some of England’s most wealthy, famous, and influential people, including Noel Coward, H. G. Wells, and P. G. Wodehouse, came to Le Touquet, contributing to the eclectic architecture that has come to define the town today and helping it develop into the booming resort that it has been ever since.
Ian Fleming was a regular guest in the 1950s and chose to include the town in many of his James Bond novels. He even based the eponymous casino in Casino Royale on the one in Le Touquet. The Le Westminster Hotel, which stands at the centre of the town, was a favourite haunt of Ian Fleming and Sir Roger Moore, and was also the place where Sir Sean Connery signed his contract to play James Bond in Dr No. If you fancy a touch of the 007 lifestyle have dinner on the terrace of Michelin-starred Le Pavillon restaurant, then relax with a martini (shaken, not stirred) while surrounded by stars in the Bar du West.
A Sporting Paradise
If the Rugby World Cup has you in a sporting mood, Le Touquet has a whole host of activities to satisfy your competitive side. Its fabulous white sand beach has seen it become a centre for sand-yachting, a sport pioneered in Le Touquet. Horse-riding is available for all ages at the world-renowned equestrian centre, and the annual Enduropale, an off-road motorbike and quad bike race, takes full advantage of the seemingly endless sandy beach. Swing by Le Touquet Tennis Club, where superstars like Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have played, and enjoy a match on one of their indoor or outdoor courts, or even sign up for tennis lessons with one of their expert teachers. If you’re lucky, you might even get to see the England rugby team training at their training grounds in town!
Le Touquet’s reputation for stylish hotels and high-end luxury has seen it become a world-renowned centre for golf - so popular is the sport that the town has even chosen a caddy as its mascot (look out for him as you drive into town). Golf du Touquet is considered one of the finest courses in Europe. It has two 18-hole courses, including the La Foret course in the extensive pine forest, and the La Mer course, voted one of the best links courses in the world, and the 9 hole Le Manoir course is ideal for golfers who want to fit in a quick round.
Le Touquet is full of things to see and do, and you’re bound to find plenty to keep you busy just by wandering through the streets and walking along the seafront, where beach and water sports of all types will keep you cool and entertained. Explore the streets at your own pace, shop till you drop, and stop off for gelato, coffee and cocktails at any of Le Touquet’s mouth-watering cafes, bars and restaurants.
DFDS offers up to 30 crossings per day on its Dover to Calais service. Fares start from £78 each way for a car and four people. Browse a selection of fragrances, cosmetics and electronics in DFDS’ duty-free shops and save up to 50 per cent off UK high-street prices. Book at www.dfds.com.
Upgrade your ticket to include access to the exclusive Premium Lounge with complimentary hot and cold drinks and snacks from £12 per person. Add Priority Boarding to be one of the first to board and disembark the ferry from £10 per car each way.