Hardelot is located about ten kilometers south of Boulogne, in the middle of an impressive nature reserve.
On our way to Le Touquet our attention was drawn by a signpost to ‘ le château d ’ Hardelot ’ . Since we are always looking for something new, we followed the signposts. The castle turns out to be a neo-Gothic castle, which was built in the 19th century on the ruins of a medieval castle.
It was only recently restored. In the surrounding area, a theater is built in the style of Elisabeth, following the example of the (round) theaters in which the pieces of Shakespeare were played.
Inside the castle is an overview of Franco-British relations, a succession of wars and Ententes from William the Conqueror in 1066 to Henry VIII and Queen Victoria who was a guest on several occasions in Hardelot. Even Charles Dickens stayed here for some time.
In the vicinity of the castle there are several hiking trails, of which a walk of about 3 kilometers around the Lac des Miroirs.
Access to the castle is 3 EUR (with audio guide, available in Dutch). It is open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 11 am to 12.30 pm and from 2 pm to 6 pm (during high season).
Definitely worth a detour if you're in the area !