Thursday 1 November
Le Crotoy –Étaples.
We had a supershorthop from Le Crotoy to Étaples this morning…the drive took all of just over an hour. The main reason for moving such a short distance was because the site in Le Crotoy had zero WiFi and hardly any phone signal. It also meant that we could visit the town of Le Touquet – home of the French Concorde!
Le Touquet is about a ten-minute drive from Étaples yet the two towns really are chalk and cheese. Étaples was an old fishing port where most of the houses would have been two up, two down houses at the most. Sadly the old fishing community has disappeared (progress, they tell us) as the town has grown but fishing is still a big part of the town; a wonderful fish market and some tempting fish restaurants can be found down by the port.
After the first world war Étaples was recognised by the state for accommodating up to 80,000 men at a time over the four years (1914-18) and for the damage done to the town. During the second world war the town was occupied by the German troops and about a third of its houses were damaged. We passed a small public garden which was dedicated to the French Resistance; I couldn’t help but think what brave people they must have been. In addition, there was a picture of Charles de Gaulle painted on the wall of the garden!
As we wandered down one of the side streets I could see some of the old houses had been, or were in the process of being, renovated – which I love to see. It’s a town which I think could be upandcoming albeit some of it feels a bit uncared for. I did smile at an unusual drain-pipe with rather grotesque fish-heads at the top and bottom of it.
In contrast, Le Touquet is smart and affluent. The outskirts felt and looked like an estate in Hollywood in the USA (my humans told me this as I’ve not been there, but they have). Huge houses (mainly painted white), some thatched, many different styles of architecture, large tree-edged gardens – which don’t need to be fenced off – and neat wooded areas where the trees appear to have been planted at regular intervals in pokerstraight lines. Once into the actual town the houses are more flamboyantly decorated, reminding my humans of up-market houses in the USA again; one row of houses were similar to the ‘Painted Ladies’ in San Francisco to Leigh’s eye.
We arrived back at the campsite just in time to miss a downpour of rain! Leigh cooked dinner – a vegetarian special because she is raising fund for Cancer Research by going ‘Vegetarian in November’ – Tom looked up the prices of alcohol as he wants to take advantage of the lowerthanBlighty prices and stock up for Christmas, and I had a snooze.
Woofs, Martha xx