Town-museum. Impression of Normandy

Maria J. Żychowska



A therapeutic influence of climate and sea baths was highly appreciated since the ancient times, whereas a holiday spent at the seaside has been a British tradition going back to the 18th century. The first bath facilities were developed there and the guests could take a bath in the North Sea or drink tea. With the advance of rail transport at the beginning of the 19th century, the coast was opened to everybody not only elites. Traveling by train proved efficient and inexpensive both for short excursions and vacation trips.     Similar trends can be observed on the other side of the English Channel. For example, in Normandy on the Picard coast in the years 1880–1896 a significant urban development of three cities located close to one another was noted, i.e. Eu, Le Tréport, Mers-les-Baines. The first important investment in Mers-les-Baines was a casino built in 1900, and on July 10, 1904, a railroad track was built to reach that place from Eu-Tréport.     In the scope of the architecture formation, we can notice three major phases of development and evolution of the local stylistics. The first phase comprises structures in a simple style in which brick constitutes a dominant material. Cast iron balconies or mansards rarely appeared as ornamentations. The second phase, which was more and more connected with tourism, was dominated by Anglo-Flemish influences with a perceptible diversity of stylistic programmes – villas and hotels with bay windows and balconies were becoming more and more impressive. In the third phase – in the glory times of architecture - it took full advantage of the abundance of patterns included in the flower style of art nouveau.

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