The coastal town of Le Treport, on the edge of Normandy where it joins to Picardy, is seemingly unremarkable at first sight. It is a quite special though when you get to know it, alongside it sister towns of Eu Mers-les- Bains. They nestle along the Channel shore line, just beyond the Somme basin. Here’s what to see and do in Le Treport Normandy from the fascinating funicular railway to local food…
Le Treport seaside resort
Le Treport was established as a resort when paid holidays for French workers came into effect in 1936. It was the most accessible seaside destination for families travelling from the industrial districts of Paris. Holidays here were inexpensive and the natural terrain provided a number of stunning spectacles.
The cliffs that embrace the town from both of its sides are the highest limestone and chalk features in Europe. They reach elevations of around 400 feet above the sea and their terrain dominates the shoreline.
The gap between the chalk edifices is dominated by the view of the Cathedral like structure of St. Jacques. This church rests on a gently sloping rock outcrop. The proud tower points steadfastly upwards into the sky beyond the line of the cliff tops. Visitors can wander through St. Jacques and take in the majesty of the art works and architecture.
Sightseeing in Treport
The town is peppered by narrow streets occupied by quaint buildings and has a bustling market culture. The commercial area overlooking the sea is dominated by standing stalls, shops, cafes and restaurants. All sightseeing adventures in Le Treport require a bit of effort. Visitors will find themselves constantly climbing up and down steps and slopes that link the sea resort below to the high town on the top of the cliffs.
However, there is a most impressive funicular railway built in 1908. It transits through an imposing tunnel cut into the vast face of the adjacent cliffs. It is there to transport people between the beach area below to the high town at the top of the cliffs and runs continuously all day. Each car holds about 10 people and it is free. Just join the queue and await your turn. It is an exciting experience and not particularly scary and the journey provides some stunning views.
The beach is a pebble one predominantly at times of low tide, smooth sand can emerge in certain sections.
Eating out in Treport
The eating speciality in Le Treport is the home harvested fish produce, especially large platters of fruit de mer. Fishing, the dominant industry of the town is very much a part of its culture.
The ancient lighthouse standing on a promontory poking out into the sea is worth a stroll. Look close by and find the busy original fish market. Business is always brisk and the enclosed trading floor is busy with people searching for their favourite varieties. The produce displayed in the trays on the stalls always looks sumptuously enticing. Remains of the early days of the fishing economy can still be found elsewhere in the town. The quarter des Cordiers is home to parallel rows of preserved terraced cottages. These houses were occupied initially by fishermen who were so poor that they could not afford nets. They had to use long lines baited with local sea worms to ply their trade.
Head to Quai Francois 1er for a great choice of authentic restaurants and views over the Channel.
What else to see in Le Treport
Le Treport lies just off the stunning D940 coastal road and shares its pitch with the gentle towns of Eu and Mers-les-Bains. The towns together are known locally as the ‘three sisters’ and all are worth a visit. You’ll find classic Normandy architecture galore and the chateau at Eu is a distinctly impressive local feature.
Le Treport is an unpretentious sort of place and displays its humble origins with pride. It is busy and vibrantly active in the summer yet has a gentle charm.
Bob Lyons is an ex pilot now travel writer with a penchant for France…