Louis Bleriot (French aviator) was the first to fly a heavier -than-air aircraft across the Channel. His pioneering flight was in 1909, only 6 years after the first powered flight by the Wright brothers in the USA. He flew his monoplane from the beach west of Calais, which was re-named ‘Bleriot-plage'; and landed on a hillside meadow by Dover Castle, which has since become woodland.
He was born in Cambrai (France), and later lived in Hardelot, where he was a director of the property company developing the resort, and a keen pioneer of sandyachting in Hardelot. He went on to design many successful aircraft.