Born at the end of the 19th century, the seaside architecture offers a remarkable range of astonishing villas where the imagination of the architects was able to express themselves freely. Borrowings and pastiches are numerous. One is inspired by regional characteristics, the other by English cottages or exotic oriental forms ... One principle: to be of unparalleled originality!
Tourelles, bell towers, belvederes and campaniles are displayed on the beach or in the park district, Émile Zola, Sacha Guitry and Yvonne Printemps. Photographer Jacques-Henri Lartigue will leave unforgettable testimonies of their common holidays. Carefree crazy years! Time has endowed them with a crazy charm.
To discover and visit Royan, consult the program of guided tours of the Tourist Office.
Souvenir photos of Joséphine's grandmother's vacation.
From Pontaillac to the Parc quarter, the seaside villas gaze elegantly at the open sea.
I like to walk along Boulevard Garnier. The promenade running along the beach is very agreeable. The architectural setting is all the more remarkable and gives the resort a Belle Epoque atmosphere. I just love it!
Each of the villas has its own style of decoration and a name, making them totally unique and identifiable at a glance. The use of different materials such as bricks, stone or wood gives these superb villas even more character.
Some of them have welcomed celebrities such as the famous author Emile Zola who stayed in the villa named "Le Rêve".
I'm very fond of this heritage because my grandparents used to live in this quarter.
I found an old trunk of my grandmother's in their attic. Inside there were photos of way back in the past, and some postcards. My grandmother was just a child when the photos were taken. I felt a wave of curiosity mixed with nostalgia overwhelm me. It was like travelling backwards through time.
In one of the photos my great-grandmother, dressed in the fashion of the time and with a sunshade in her hand, is posing for the camera just like a star. In another you can see the celebrated striped beach tents and a few female bathers in one-piece bathing costumes and bathing hats. There are postcards illustrating the tramway which took passengers as far as Pontaillac, and others showing the Municipal Casino built opposite the Grande Conche beach. Fascinating!
They are all indelible memories for me!
I really recommend you explore this wonderful heritage from the past which never ceases to surprise me.