French resort of Le Touquet to rename its airport after Queen Elizabeth

Le Touquet-Paris-Plage airport considers itself 'the most British of French airports'

The main street of Le Touquet-Paris-Plage. AFP
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A French airport popular with British tourists is changing its name to honour Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, its most famous passenger.

Le Touquet-Paris-Plage airport in northern France and south of Calais, considers itself “the most British of French airports” and has long been popular with British tourists attracted by its closeness.

The local council said it wanted to honour the town’s deep connections with Britain and a visit by the young Princess Elizabeth in the 1930s with her uncle, the future King Edward VIII.

“The most British of French resorts has had unbreakable links with the United Kingdom,” said airport communications director Guillaume Andraud.

“From its founder Sir John Whitley, to the stays inspiring of the author of the James Bond saga, Ian Fleming, through the names of its villas, or even its majestic belfry ringing Big Ben every hour of the day, everything Touquet-Paris-Plage breathes a wind of British spirit and elegance.

“With this decision, our airport affirms and reinforces its status as the ‘most British of French airports’.”

Britons first visited Le Touquet as tourists in the 1920s and it soon became popular among celebrities.

Walcot Airlines provided a daily service to London, and in the 1950s it grew to become the third largest airport in France in terms of passengers, after Orly and Nice. Le Touquet International Airport is still a major airport for British visitors.

“In order to pay homage to Queen Elizabeth II and in memory of her visit to Le Touquet with her uncle Edward VIII, a visit during which she practised horse riding as well as sand yachting, the town of Le Touquet-Paris-Plage wishes to name its airport after her. For 70 years, she served her country with commitment, respect and constancy at the same time as she was always attentive to good relations between our two nations, she who spoke French and appreciated our country,” Mr Andraud said.

Updated: September 16, 2022, 1:04 PM