The Normandy Hotel, Deauville

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Latitude: 49.3° North ; Longitude: 0.07 ° East. You are in Deauville, romantic city for sophisticated recreation. It is the high place for horse riding since, in 1864, the duke Morny, founder of the city and originator of the sea bathing vogue, made the opening of the very first racecourse, for thoroughbreds. The Normandy coast, already got promoted when the dressy Parisian transformed it in a real catwalk for their jaunts. Then, they brought to Deauville the lenses of the gazette photographers.

The city is fascinating and when we consider the Normandy Hotel, we realize the accomplishment of François André, the person who originated it in 1912. The sumptuousness of its architecture, so typical to the Normandy Coast but enhanced with the magnificence of the Belle Epoque through matching green pastel half-timbered or checked stoned walls. This contributes to a romantic, dreamlike and fantasized mood. In 1913, a new shop opened, under control of Boy Capel… just between the Casino and the Normandy Hotel. On the store front window, we can read: Gabrielle Chanel, probably a milliner. While the first world war is starting, innovative, elegant and smooth creations are developed, such as polo tee shirts, short pleated skirts and beach pants which, each summer, attract more and more customers. The shop is always full when the milliner is suddenly inspired by the wet sand colour: here is the birth of the famous “Beige Chanel”.
This beige which recalls the floorboard – sea lane in ekki constructed in the 20’s – and where it is interesting to be seen. This floorboard which recalls the cinema… Meanwhile the Vietnam war outrages the French opinion, the journalist André Halimi, the publicist Lionel Chouchan, and the owner of the Normandy Hotel, Lucien Barrière are longing to organize an event during which the new Hollywood could be celebrated. Sept 1975: sacrament of the first American Cinema Festival, but without any American actor. Then, Chouchan got it when he decided to introduce the “Tributes” concept : very quickly, Gregory Peck and Kirk Douglas feet are on the Normandy ground. Step by step, it became a friendly meeting above all within the Normandy hotel which hosted both French personalities and jurors. Everybody talks to everybody in a joyful, friendly and creative atmosphere. Indeed, Deauville and the Normandy hotel won’t stop promoting the Art… Here comes the American Cinema Festival.

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