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Every year my family goes across the channel to France to spend a nice relaxing week in the wonderful Edwardian style town known as Neufchâtel-Hardelot. Why do they go there every year? The region is beautiful, it is in easy driving from the ports and it offers a nice peaceful break but of course that is not all what Neufchâtel-Hardelot has to offer!
== Neufchâtel-Hardelot ==
The town itself is classed as a commune and is in the Pas-de-Calais department in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region in France making it easily accessable whether you come via ferry of the Channel Tunnel. I The closest airport to Hardelot Plage is Le Touquet (Le Touget-Paris-Plage) Airport (13 km). It is an area known for its long association with farming and as the area became popular with tourists it is now home to several golf courses popular with keen golfers. However, the town is steeped in history from the area being known back in the 7th century to being bombed and taken over by the Germans in the Second World War you can find a little piece of history every where you go in Hardelot.
== The Resort ==
The area also has some 13km of sandy beaches which are of course home to many water sports activities which take place such as windsurfing, sand yachting and sea kayaking. The resort gained its wonderful reputation back in the Edwardian times when Sir John Whitley owned the local Château and he himself promoted the outdoor sporting life whilst Louis Bleriot created the sand yacht and the sport still continues to this day.
The resort of Neufchâtel-Hardelot is classed by the French authorities as a 'Kid' resort of which there are 38 of these child friendly resorts in the whole of France which makes this area a real attraction to both the French and the English holiday maker. Being a 'Kid' resort the area has plenty in the way of activities and equipment for children to take part in.
For those wanting to stay on dry land there is plenty to see in the wonderful forests surrounding the town. Whether you are into walking and hiking there are plenty of trails to be found. For those wanting to rest their legs horse riding is a popular activity and there is a large riding school based in the heart of the forest for those wishing to explore on horseback.
== The Town ==
The town itself is well laid out although you can easily walk around it. You won't be sort of restaurants, bars and brasseries should you want to stop and refuel. However, if wanting something a little sweet there are numerous crêperies where you can treat yourself. If staying in self catering accommodation there is a wide variety of stores as well as supermarkets which you will find a wonderful selection of cheeses, patés, charcuterie and of course wine. Most grocery type stores in Hardelot do specialise in locally grown produce which is nice.
For those not wanting food there are plenty of clothes stores ranging from the more high end including little boutiques which look like Aladdin's cave to those more high street type stores both for adults and children.
== Staying Here ==
Because we always stay in the same house which is situated on one of the two golf courses (owned by a family friend) we have never needed to find alternative accommodation. However, there are plenty of villas and other self catering accommodation both in land on near the sea front which are rented out and are easily found by doing a typical Google search. It is a known tourist area so it won't be difficult to find somewhere to stay but of course during the peak season it may be a bit more troublesome.
== A Must See ==
Neufchâtel-Hardelot is in quite a handy location and is close to Calais and Boulogne-sur-Mer so you can easily get to attractions in those areas but for me the one place I do quite like visiting is Les Chocolats de Beussant a very small chocolate factory/museum in the small village of Beussant only a short drive away. A very unassuming place but one that will get your tastebuds tantalised! Two brothers own the factory and here they make and produce chocolates using only the finest natural ingredients.
== My Overall Opinion ==
I love Neufchâtel-Hardelot I like the fact that you get the old with the new. You can still find plenty of history despite the town being rebuilt from German bombing and their invasion. The people are incredibly friendly and accommodating bearing in mind that there are now a lot of English and Dutch homeowners in the area which although hasn't spoilt the town it would be nice if it didn't get invaded too much.
The area has plenty to see and do and is in easy access from the main roads as well as the ports which is one of the reasons my family seem to love it as you can get here quite quickly rather than keep travelling to get to a destination. The beaches in the summer are beautiful on the right, sunny day and again when walking the dogs the pine forests provide a beautiful location. It is a wonderful area and definitely worth a visit should you be in the north of France.