Page last updated at 07:40 GMT, Thursday, 14 May 2009 08:40 UK

French flavour for seaside resort

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Blackpool's arthouse movie is more about sophistication than seaside sauce

A Lancashire seaside resort is using a dash of French glamour and internet social networking sites to boost holidaymaker numbers.

A new YouTube film, complete with sexy French accents, promotes Blackpool as a sophisticated place.

The aim of the film is to attract visitors who may have traditionally felt that Blackpool was not for them.

The town is currently undergoing major redevelopment, including the £220m Talbot Gateway project.

New hotels, shops and restaurants are planned as well as offices, a supermarket and cafes on a site near Blackpool North train station.

Judith Moritz, Reporting from Blackpool

The idea is that, at first glance, those watching may confuse the Blackpool Tower for the Eiffel Tower, and the Lancashire skyline for France. But the joke is soon uncovered, and the filmmakers hope that the short film will prove a hit online, both here and across the Channel.

The question may be asked: Is Blackpool chic enough for the French? Its Golden Mile, with its fish and chip shops, tattoo parlours and amusement arcades bears little resemblance to the Champs Elysses or Croisette, but work is under way to make Blackpool more stylish.

A £220m regeneration scheme has just been given the go-ahead; sea defences, walkways and public areas are being refurbished and some accommodation in the town is being upgraded.

The work is set to start in 2011, creating hundreds of jobs.

In the promotional video, a couple - a French woman and her English boyfriend - enjoy the town's attractions before ordering Lancashire hot pot in a cafe.

The 90-second-long film, titled Blackpool Je t'aime, is artfully shot and includes images of the town's tower, trams and fairground.

Helen France, director of tourism for Blackpool Council, said: "Often when we get French visitors - they like to do London, Stratford and Edinburgh and often drop off at a seaside town on the way, and we hope that this will encourage them to come to Blackpool."

About 10 million people visit Blackpool each year and the council wants to swell those numbers even further.



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