“The International Airport of Le Touquet Paris-Plage is about to undergo a historic transformation by taking on the name Elizabeth II International Airport of Le Touquet Paris-Plage,” the northern resort’s town hall said in a statement.
“This is a tribute to a great Queen and her uncle who had a fondness for France, as well as a recognition of the ‘most British of French resorts”. An inauguration date had yet to be set. Authorities had requested the name change just days after the Queen, the longest-reigning monarch in British history, died on 8 September at the age of 96. Queen Elizabeth II, who was a fluent French speaker, made five state visits to France during her reign, in addition to numerous private visits.
Her first visit to France was in 1948 as the 22-year-old Princess Elizabeth.
Le Touquet, about an hour’s drive south of Calais, is a popular resort where French President Emmanuel Macron and wife Brigitte notably have a home.
The town’s airport opened in the 1930s and swiftly becoming a favoured destination for well-heeled Britons. The town hall noted that the Queen’s uncle, Edward VIII, used to travel to Le Touquet by plane to enjoy horseback riding and sand yachting, sometimes accompanied by his niece
In the 1950s the airport was France’s third busiest after Orly outside Paris and Nice on the French Riviera.
Later this year, Le Touquet will host the England rugby team for its training camp for the World Cup starting on 8 September and running to 28 October
Charles III is expected to make his first official visit to France as king in September, six months later than originally planned. The British monarch had been due to visit in March but opted to postpone amid protests against the French government’s pension reforms.