Thalassa in Novotel Le Touquet

A few months ago I was rushing to the train when I got a call from Elle Magazine: I was selected as wellness ambassador to try out one of the Thalassa hotels in France and if I was free and could write something about it. I never said ‘yes and yes’ quicker and people were looking at me in a ‘I am having what she is having’ kind of way.

Thalassa, the sea godess of the Ancient Greeks. Think sea and seaweed and purity from head to toe. I came back all beaming from three days in the lovely Novotel Le Touquet. Skin shiny soft and healthy and eyes so bright everybody told me I was looking so incredibly good (incredibly, ha!). Had I done something differently? I sure had: 9 seawater therapy sessions in 48hrs!

I usually love long train journeys but now I got impatient like a five year old. Arriving at the hotel was worth the wait though. Novotel Le Touquet lies directly at the unspoilt beach of the Côte d'Opale. It was a gorgeous sunny day when I arrived. There really is no better instant anti-stress solution than staring at the sea with the sun on your face and a soft breeze through your hair. 
From my first floor balcony I could see the perfect horizon with an occasional playful white wave rolling out of it.  A zen-like moment that I will take away with me and think of when faced again with the everyday stress. One of the many great things about this hotel is that you can ask for breakfast in your room. What a luxury to pour your morning coffee and eat your healthy fruit salad with this view!

The view of the endless beach follows you wherever you go in the hotel and the waiting area between the thalassa sessions has ceiling to floor windows that kept me staring at the horizon. I didn't read a single page of my book, the view of the sand and the sea was all I could wish for. And the pampering attention of the therapists of course: never felt so spoiled with attention in my life! 

I started this wellness holiday with an aromatic sea salt body scrub that got rid of all the dead winter skin. Every morning I had four water therapy sessions, from seaweed wrappings to massages on waterbeds, all were so good I never wanted one to end.
For the first session I was left alone in a dark room, floating in a bath full with jets around my arms legs and bum. Good that they left me alone because I couldn't stop giggling when those playful jets started. A blissful smile stayed on my face for the whole holiday. The last treatment was pure heaven, lying on my belly with from head to toe a shower spraying soft seawater over my back and legs. For twenty relaxing minutes. I want one at home please.
One tip when you have thalassa in France: brush up on the French body parts vocabulary. When they say turn your ankle, make sure you don’t point your elbow like I did in the hydro jet group class…

When you arrive at the Novotel Le Touquet the first thing that draws your attention are the triangular windows of the swimming pool that overlook that endless beach. It was the photo that got most likes when I posted it on Instagram and wouldn't you say 'wow' either when you swim there?

I was looking forward to discovering the town of Le Touquet too, but I must admit I didn't manage to see the place at all. I stayed in thalassa heaven for three days, only interrupted by long walks on the beach on those sunny afternoons. When I told this to the taxi driver on the way back to the train station he happily gave me the ten minute tour of facts. By the time I arrived at the station I had been introduced to the history of Le Touquet, its famous visitors and sports games. Taxi men, you got to love them. 

The facts I learned from Mr. cabdriver:  
*A lot of people arrive in Le Touquet by private jet and drive straight to the golf course. Euh, next time!
*Le Touquet is also known as 'Paris-Plage', a day out to the beach for all Parisians in the weekend
*The casino in Le Touquet inspired Ian Fleming to write Casino Royale
*The Tour de France will pass here in summer 2014
*The composer Maurice Ravel wrote the first notes of his famous Bolero here (said the taxi driver, but I am not so sure that is all correct)
* The poshest hotel of 1929 was the Royal Picardy, with more than 500 rooms and a pool in each of the nine suites
*Serge Gainsbourg used to have a job playing the piano in a restaurant here before he became famous 

But what I will always remember from my stay is: 'Il y a des voyages que votre corps n'oublie pas'' 

This trip was sponsored by the French Tourist Office and Elle Magazine

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