LONDON – Effective from 14 October, the north France regional airport Aéroport International Le Touquet-Côte d’Opale is to be officially renamed in honour of the late British monarch Queen Elizabeth II.
The airport is to be renamed Aéroport International Le Touquet-Paris-Plage Elizabeth II.
Located on the Opal Coast, south of Boulogne-sur-Mer, on the shoreline of the English Channel, the seaside resort has been previously nicknamed the “Garden of the English Channel.”
Le Touquet has maintained a strong link with the British monarchy since the 1920s. In 1930 an aerodrome was built to receive early tourist aircraft and hosted a daily flight service to London.
Notable amongst visiting dignitaries was King Edward VIII, who was the Price of Wales at that time. The decision taken by the local authority to re-name the airport in the late Queen’s honour is in part taken from the connection with her uncle Edward VIII and her visits to the town with him in the 1930s.
In their statement, the airport authority said:
“In order to pay tribute to Queen Elizabeth II, and in memory of her visit to Le Touquet with her uncle Edward VIII, during which she practised both horse riding and sand yachting, the town of Le Touquet-Paris-Plage wishes to name its airport after her who, for 70 years, served her country with commitment, respect and constancy.”
The move to the new honorary name would “affirm and reinforce [the airports] status as the most British of French airports,” the statement noted.
Mayor of Touquet-Paris-Plage, Daniel Fasquelle also announced the decision via his social media pages:
Le Touquet has something of a colourful history, with its connection to wealthy British society, and has proved an attractive resort destination for the more affluent. The seaside town has played host a number of notable personalities including the flamboyant playwright and director Sir Noel Coward, and English author P.G Wodehouse amongst others.
In 1909, famed science fiction writer H. G. Wells and New Zealand-born British feminist writer and scholar Amber Reeves eloped and fled to Le Touquet. The two returned to Britain some weeks after, and Reeves later gave birth to Wells’s daughter, Anna-Jane Blanco White, after the relationship ended.
The self-described “most British of French airports” also remains a popular fly-in destination for aviators across Europe.