L’Opale Villa provides an excellent base if you wish to visit some of the historic sites of “The Great War”. The Somme is about 45 minutes away, Arras a little more, and Ypres about an hour and a half. In Montreuil-sur-Mer, 25 minutes drive, there is a famous equestrian statue of Sir Douglas Haig.
ETAPLES MILITARY CEMETERY Pas de Calais, is the closest site of historic interest being approximately 15 minutes drive from Le Touquet. The largest of its kind in France, it overlooks the Canche Estuary on the Boulogne road as you leave Etaples.
Etaples cemetery, was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens famous for the design of numerous country houses in England. The cemetery contains 10,769 Commonwealth burials of the First World War, and some 119 Second World War burials. As a reminder of the huge loss of life on both sides Etaples Military Cemetery also contains 658 German burials.
Notable burials or memorials include:
Private Jim Bonella, Australian Machine Gun Corps
Brigadier Edgar William Cox, DSO, FRGS, General Staff.
Lieutenant Colonel William Robert Aufrere Dawson DSO, Royal West Kent Regiment
Captain Noel Forbes Humphreys, Tank Corps
Major Douglas Reynolds, VC, Royal Field Artillery.
During the First World War, the area around Etaples was the scene of huge concentrations of British soldiers destined for the western front. In 1917, 100,000 troops were camped among the sand dunes. The town became a giant hospital with a number of facilities established by the Australians, New Zealanders and British. Typically up to 22000 men could be treated for their injuries.
Other local historical sites of interest.
La Coupole- A Second World War museum with presentations in English. It is located in St Omer.