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Le Portel

Le Portel
Fort de l'Heurt
Fort de l'Heurt
Coat of arms of Le Portel
Location of Le Portel
Le Portel is located in France
Le Portel
Le Portel
Le Portel is located in Hauts-de-France
Le Portel
Le Portel
Coordinates: 50°42′27″N 1°34′28″E / 50.7075°N 1.5744°E / 50.7075; 1.5744
 • Mayor (2020–2026) Olivier Barbarin[1]
3.85 km2 (1.49 sq mi)
 • Density2,300/km2 (6,000/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+01:00 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+02:00 (CEST)
INSEE/Postal code
62667 /62480
Elevation0–59 m (0–194 ft)
(avg. 27 m or 89 ft)
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km2 (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.

Le Portel (French pronunciation: [lə pɔʁtɛl]; West Flemish: Turbodingem) is a commune in the Pas-de-Calais department in the Hauts-de-France region of France.[3]


Le Portel is a tourist, fishing and light industrial town situated about 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) southwest of Boulogne town centre, at the junction of the D236 and D119 roads. It has a beach, and the white cliffs of the English coast can be seen across the sea on clear days.


Le Portel translates as "the little port." The original Le Portel was a hamlet east of the town of Outreau. It became an independent municipality on 13 June 1856 by an imperial decree of Napoleon III.
In the 19th century, flint tools were discovered in the centre of the village, by the river near the Hamel Bridge, evidence of the long occupation of the site. A Gallo-Roman cemetery has been excavated in the hamlet of Châtillon.

Of agricultural origin, it grew rapidly during the 19th century because of fishing, along with the nearby port of Boulogne-sur-Mer. Sailors of Portel were as numerous as those of Boulogne before World War I. In 1841, two Le Portel sailors were on the ship Belle Poule, that brought back the remains of Napoleon.

During the Second World War, on 8 and 9 September 1943, Le Portel suffered as part of Operation Cockade, a diversionary manoeuvre by the Allies to fool the Germans into believing the possibility of a landing on the English Channel. The bombings, which destroyed 93% of the village, also killed 376 civilians.[4] On 12 August 1944, Charles de Gaulle was at Le Portel for its liberation. The town received the Croix de guerre with silver star for its sacrifice.


Historical population
YearPop.±% p.a.
1968 11,379—    
1975 11,112−0.34%
1982 10,984−0.17%
1990 10,615−0.43%
1999 10,720+0.11%
2007 10,232−0.58%
2012 9,836−0.79%
2017 9,240−1.24%
Source: INSEE[5]

Places of interest

  • Two twentieth century churches.
  • Fort de l'Heurt, built from 1803/1805 by order of Napoleon Bonaparte.
  • Fort d'Alprech, built in 1883.
  • The lighthouse.
  • The Fort de Couppes 1883 .
  • The Atlantic Wall German fortress.

Notable people

Twin towns


The ESSM Le Portel is a French basketball club, based in Le Portel.

See also


  1. ^ "Répertoire national des élus: les maires"., Plateforme ouverte des données publiques françaises (in French). 2 December 2020.
  2. ^ "Populations légales 2021". The National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies. 28 December 2023.
  3. ^ INSEE commune file
  4. ^ Talty (2012), pg. 146
  5. ^ Population en historique depuis 1968, INSEE


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Le Portel
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