Ever wonder what day trips to Le Touqet in France are like? Pilot Andrew blogs about his travels to Le Touquet giving the Wingly flightsharing community a chance to join him when he flies to the north coast of France on his day trips.
As I frequently fly with my partner across the water to Le Touquet, and Alpha Lima, our Mooney M20J, had just been resprayed and had a new interior fitted, it felt only right that we shared the experience with lots of non flyers by advertising our spare seats on Wingly. So from the 22nd April to the beginning of June AL spent almost every Saturday nipping across the channel with me, the love of my life and two happy Wingly passengers.
A lot of people had never heard of Le Touquet so I had to put together a “what to do guide” and explain to them how this wonderful Wingly system works. It is so easy. I was getting approximately 10 messages per advertised trip from people who wanted to come flying with us, which made it quite difficult sometimes to choose the people, weight is of course a big factor in a small aircraft and although AL is very powerful and fast, the same rules of weight vs lift apply as in all aircraft. On our first trip the weather was not “of the finest” but AL being fully airways as was the Pilot we took off and shot an ILS into Le Touquet breaking out at approx. 1200 agl and 4000m viz. Our Wingly passengers Nathan and his friend were amazed and loved “being able to see the front view”, which to us pilots is just SO normal. They nipped off into Town a la pie and walked along the beach to Berk and back (that’s a LONG way). My partner and I enjoyed a lovely lazy French lunch in our favourite French restaurant by the sea, then a stroll along the promenade.
Towards the North of Le Touquet is an old German WW2 encampment that I had seen a year or so back from a distance and I was very keen to investigate it further, so we strolled through the pine forest that lines the beach and “nipped” through a hole in the security fence that surrounds this. It is fascinating, there are at least 5 underground bunkers with interconnecting (I believe) underground tunnels. It looks as though the occupants left only a few weeks ago. Very interesting and I am now trying to find out more about it, but there is very little information online.
Having satisfied my curiosity for all things WW2, my better half insisted we walked back along the main drag and do some shopping. A compulsory stop in Au Chat Bleu for some chocolate was in order as was a quick visit into some of the Interior Décor shops that line the street. Le Touquet is shopping and ambling, lots of restaurants and even more boutiques, so if you don’t want to spend money leave the credit card behind.
To a lot of people the best thing about this part of France and having a light aircraft is the ability to land, hire a car and drive a little further inland, we have stayed regularly at Chateau de Montreuil just inland from Le Touquet and its so relaxing. Hire cars can be acquired from Le Touquet airport via Hertz.
Once all our avaricious desires had been accomplished we caught a quick cab back to the airport and met up again with Nathan and his friend. Pre-flight done, we took off into the setting sun and were home 40 minutes later in Elstree Aerodrome in London. Did I mention Mooneys are fast? Two very happy converts to private aviation and a happy partner. What better way to spend a day, and it only cost half as much as normal as we had Wingly passengers in the back. I like cost sharing.