French City Revisits Its Roots To Cash In On Olympics
STEVE INSKEEP, Host:
People in one corner of France are looking forward to their chance to host the Olympics in 2012. That may surprise people who recall that London beat out the French for the Olympics that year. But the far north of France is just across the English Channel from all those Olympic events. France and England are ancient rivals and that rivalry changed the world, as we'll hear from Renee in a moment. But right now, many people in France are setting aside the rivalry in a bid to cash in. Here's NPR's Eleanor Beardsley.
ELEANOR BEARDSLEY: The French city of Calais is the point in continental Europe closest to England. In 1347 it actually became a part of England, with full representation in Parliament, until the French captured it back again in 1558.
DOMINIQUE DUPILET: I can say that during three(ph) centuries our country was an English country.
BEARDSLEY: The Olympics are big business, with national teams spending millions of dollars on accommodations and training facilities for their athletes. On top of that, there's the revenue from the thousands of tourists attending the games. Dupilet wants a piece of that action, so the Calais regional council is spending more than $100 million to upgrade sporting facilities before the games, and Dupilet says plenty of teams have already signed up to train in them.
DUPILET: (Through translator) We have agreements with many French speaking African countries, with Kazakhstan, with Hungary, and a really big contract with China.
BEARDSLEY: For NPR News, I'm Eleanor Beardsley in Paris.
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