Normandy Section

Cabourg – seaside resort – Basse-Normandie

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Cabourg, a flowery seaside resort

Cabourg is one of the seaside resorts of the Côte Fleurie.

This Flowery Coast is known for its green land, meadows, parks and private gardens.

Cabourg is also ranked among 'Villes Fleuries - Flowery Cities'.

It even has '4 flowers'!

The resort is therefore a perfect setting for the Romantic Film Festival.

This annual festival, founded nearly 30 years, attract celebrities from all around the world.

From a modest fishing village to a trendy seaside resort

Cabourg is an ancient fishing port and farming community that developed at the mouth of the river Dives, opposite Houlgate.

it was transformed into a seaside resort during the Second Empire, when the fashion of sea bathing spread like wild fire among the French aristocracy and gentry.

The inauguration of the railway line in the mid 19th century made Normandy easily accessible to wealthy Parisians.

This obviously largely contributed largely to the development of the Norman coastline.

Cabourg boasts one of the longest sandy beaches (about 4km) on the Normandy coast.

A resort shaped like a Greco-Roman theatre

This 'inspired' the Parisian investor and visionary businessman Henri Durand-Morimbau and the architect Paul Leroux!

Indeed, they developed the seaside resort as a gigantic Greco-Roman theatre, in order to differentiate it from other Norman resorts.

Their task was fairly easy, as they were able to built it from scratch over a vast area of dunes that faced the beach.

The resort's layout is therefore unique, as it unfolds in a half circle facing the sea.

They built a casino, racecourse and countless lavish mansions and luxury hotels, including the iconic Hôtel de la Plage, in order to serve a wealthy clientele.

Marcel Proust at Le Grand Hôtel

The abdication of Napoleon III in 1870 triggered the decline of the resort.

The social elites of the era deserted their large villas, the luxury hotels and casino.

They, however, returned to Cabourg during the Belle Epoque.

They built a whole new range of eclectic and lavish mansions along the seafront.

Cabourg was expanding!

The Grand Hôtel, one of the major landmarks of Cabourg, is part of this second development phase.

Located between the casino and the baths, it is renowned for its architecture and large bay windows.

Marcel Proust was among the many artists who sojourned at the Grand Hôtel in 1907.

Many artists followed in his steps and made Cabourg the seaside resort of the 'men of letters'.

The writer immortalised the establishment in his masterpiece A la Recherche du Temps Perdu -In Search of Lost Time.

Proust fell in love with Cabourg where he stayed until 1914.

A renowned family resort

The Great War obviously triggered a complete recession, as leisure time and frivolity were no longer relevant!

The resort was revived in the interwar.

Indeed, famous French artists, then at the start of their early careers - Charles Aznavour, Dalida, Gilbert Bécaud, Edith Piaf and Yves Montand -  gave performances at the casino of Cabourg.

The modern day city has retained a wonderful Belle Epoque charm, as it boasts a wealth of late 19th - early 20th century architecture.

Initially recognized as the seaside resort of men of letters and theater, Cabourg is now a renowned family resort.

Book lovers will be thrilled to visit the Salon du Livre.

The Book Fair takes place every August in Casino (which is of course listed Historical Monument!)

Department of Calvados
Coordinates: Lat 49.287981 - Long -0.116292

Photos Wikimedia Commons: Grand Hotel - Beach with Houlgate - Beach huts by Nikater is Public Domain - Beach with locked huts- CasinoChars a voile
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