Seaside resort architecture started at the end of the 19th century, and offers a remarkable range of astonishing villas whose architects were able to express their fantasies in total liberty. There are many imitations and pastiches. Here you can detect regional characteristics, there stands an English cottage and over there can be seen some exotic oriental outlines… …The only rule is – be original, without any rivals !
Turrets, belltowers, belvederes and campaniles are to be seen beside the beaches or in the Parc quarter, where Émile Zola,Sacha Guitry and Yvonne Printemps, were visitors every year The photographer Jacques-Henri Lartigueleft some unforgettable reminders of their holidays together. The carefree Golden Twenties! Full of charm in retrospect.
The same thread of fantastic architecture found in these villas was perpetuated in the nineteen fifties along the sea front, in the Parc quarter and near the Palais des Congrès.
After the bombing raids of 1945, the town layout was completely revised, lightened and underlined by major vistas. . Before you leave Royan, this living museum of 1950s architecture and town planning, make sure you go through the archways from the seafront and visit the "town figurehead" designed by Guillaume Gillet: Notre-Dame church, ,the slim veil of concrete over the nave is an undeniable technical and aesthetic feat..
Sobriety and ascetics permeate the Protestant Centre, , , square and temple. Rather like a parachute in appearance, the covered market – a thin layer of concrete forming a shell supported at thirteen points – culminates the view from the estuary.
Another successful technical experiment is the Palais des congrès (Congress Centre) which offers a subtle play of light between convex surfaces and vertical or horizontal planes.