In the centre of the Regional National Park between Boulogne/mer and Le Touquet, Neufchâtel (village) and Hardelot (seaside) offer you a wide choice.
A long gallop on the beach, a game of golf in the heart of the pines, a tennis tournament or a family bicycle ride, emotions with the sea, so many pleasures to discover or get others to discover.
Hotels, Gîtes and Bed & Breakfasts will allow you to relax in comfort after the effort put in.
Your holiday programme is likely to be busy : sports enthusiasts, gourmets and sightseers, whether young or less young, will be absolutely thrilled!
A little History
In 1905, John Whitley, the owner of Hardelot castle since 1897, was charmed by the site. He wanted to turn Hardelot into the new fashionable seaside resort and the social center of sports. On his Board of Directors he brought together industrialists and Parisian and foreign dignitaries, including Prince Tata from Bombay and the Duke of Argyll from Scotland.
As early as 1908, the famous architect Louis-Marie Cordonnier, a friend of John Whitley’s, produced 20 vast and unusual villas that still characterise Hardelot today. One was built in1911 for the illustrious aviator Louis Bleriot, the designer of the first French aeroplage, the forerunner of the sand yacht.
Hardelot enjoyed immense success, in particular with the British aristocrats and the pioneers of the period. At the height of its glory, it also received King Georges V and Queen Mary, as well as the sovereigns of Belgium (in 1917). Since then Hardelot has modernised itself, but it still retains its airs and graces of yesteryear.
Its History in detail
||It was from Hardelot in 595 that Saint Augustine set sail to evangelise the south of England and become the first Bishop of Canterbury.
From the 11th century onwards, Hardelot housed a wooden fortress which protected the site against the Norman invasions. It was replaced in the 13th century by a castle built by the Counts of Boulogne.
In the 19th century the castle was in ruins when it was bought by an Englishman, Sir John Hare, who, in 1848, had it rebuilt in a neo-medieval style.
In 1905, another British business man, Sir John Whitley, won over by the immensity of the beach, the luxurious forest and an ideal situation half-way between Paris and London, decided to turn Hardelot into a "world sports centre". He had a golf course laid out and used the castle as the clubhouse. The castle tower was the starting point of the golf course. The first villas were built in 1906. Built in the same year, Hardelot church was at that time only a little chapel close to the black road. Until 1910 only teachers on holiday performed mass.
At that time the young Louis Bleriot saw in these immense beaches an ideal training ground for aviation. This was where he prepared his first solo flight across the Channel.
In 1910 Hardelot became a parish thanks to Abbot Bouly, the priest of Condette. He was water diviner and a radiesthesia practitioner and cured bodies and souls with plants. He worked until his death on the world of vibrations. In 1934 the Hardelot Company sold the castle to him. He then founded the Congregation of the Sisters of Saint Agnes. He now lies buried in Condette graveyard.
In 1910 the train directly linking Rheims - Boulogne and Neufchâtel brought in inhabitants from the Champagne area lured by the qualities of the resort.
1911 saw the arrival of the electric tramway which replaced the coach service linking Hardelot with Boulogne to great advantage.
At the beginning of the 1920s, a hundred or so houses and chalets sprung up along the seafront and around the tennis courts. People came there for "sea-bathing" and the quality of life or on the advice of their doctors for its “invigorating” air. In 1913 Hardelot was officially classified a "climatic resort".
In 1930 the English architect Tom Simpson traced, with the aid of a compass, a magnificent 18-hole golf course endowing Hardelot with one of the most highly considered golf links in Europe.
The two world wars put a sudden stop to the development of Hardelot. At the end of the Second World War, the bombings virtually razed everything to the ground. Only 8 villas remained alongside the 54 German blockhouses.
After the war, Hardelot slowly emerged from its ashes thanks to fresh enthusiasm. With the war damage, Claude Lefebvre, the grandson of Louis-Marie Cordonnier, rebuilt a certain number of the villas destroyed.
In 1954 Hardelot was joined up with Neufchâtel at the request of the State. In 1958 the Lille property developer Joseph Lesur bought the Hardelot Company and gave a fresh impetus to the resort, with the aid of his sons, José and Francis. In 1999, the latter sold the Hardelot Domain Company to Nicolas Boissonnas.