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Trouville-sur-Mer (Municipality, Calvados, France)

Last modified: 2021-07-03 by ivan sache
Keywords: trouville-sur-mer |
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Flag of Trouville, current (top row) and earlier (bottom row) versions - Images by Olivier Touzeau (top row), 20 March 2021, and Arnaud Leroy (bottom row), 20 June 2004, respectively

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Presentation of Trouville

The municipality of Trouville-sur-Mer (4,864 inhabitants in 2008; 679 ha) is located on the Channel, separated from the neighbouring town of Deauville by the estuary of river Touques.
The name of Trouville is of Norse origin. The root trou- has nothing to do with the French word trou ("a hole") and has been interpreted as Thoruflr, literally "Thor's wolf". The suffix -ville comes from the Latin word villa, which designated a rural estate. Therefore, Trouville can be understood as the "Thor's wolf's estate".

Trouville is divided into two distinct, but adjacent areas, the fishing port, built along the river Touques, and the sea resort, built along the sand beach.
In Normandy, the "industry" of sea bathing started in summer 1824 when the Duchess of Berry came to Dieppe with a rich and brilliant court. Under the Second Empire (1852-1870), however, Dieppe was abandoned by the jet-set, and Trouville, located in a less windy environment, was elected "Queen of the Beaches". In fact, the local development of Trouville started in the 1830s, when the fad of sea bathing was imported from England to Normandy. The oldest advertisement for Trouville, published in the local newspaper Le Pays d'Auge, dates back to 1837. Sea bathing was strictly regulated by a Municipal Decree adopted in 1857: the beach was divided into three sectors, those for women's and men's bathing being separated by a mixed sector. The swimmers had to change their clothes in beach huts provided by the municipality, whereas rich people had "bathing machines" on casters. The railway station of Trouville-Deauville was inaugurated in 1863; the journey from Paris to Trouville-Deauville lasted 5 hours. In 1868, a center for hydrotherapy was built in the gardens of the Town Hall. Deauville, built from scratch in 1859 by Duke of Morny, Napoléon's III half-brother, attracted several of the posh customers of Trouville.
The competition with Deauville, however, did not alter too much the fame of Trouville. In 1906, the tourist guide Joane mentioned "big horse races, international regattas, polo, clay pigeon shooting and the Eden-concert theater" in Trouville. The Hôtel de Paris had for regular customers the famous actresses Sarah Bernhardt (1844-1923) and Réjane(1856-1920, as well as the artistic jet-set of Paris.

Trouville is said to have been "discovered" in 1825 by the painter Charles Mozin, but it seems that his colleagues Paul Huet and Eugène Isabey already knew the place. Corot spent his summer vacation in Trouville in 1828. The place was subsequently popularized by the painters of the Normand coast (Boudin, Monet and Pissaro, who also settled in Le Havre and Honfleur), and, mostly, by the writer Alexandre Dumas, who stuffed himself with shrimps and soles fished locally, inviting all his friends from Paris to join his meals.
In August 1836, young Gustave Flaubert, aged 15, spent his summer family vacation in the Auberge de l'Agneau d'Or in Trouville. On a windy day, he picked up on the beach of Trouville a cape belonging to the beautiful Elisa Schlesinger, aged 26. Elisa's husband was favourably impressed by his wife's shy pretender, and invited him to join their yachting parties. Elisa seems not to have noticed that Flaubert was deeply in love with her. Two years later, Flaubert wrote his first short story based on those events, Mémoires d'un fou. Elisa's cape can be considered as the founding event of Flaubert's career in literature. Flaubert came back to Trouville only once in 1853.
In summer 1891, young Marcel Proust, aged 20, spent a few weeks in Trouville in a estate that partially inspired La Raspelière, the estate villa depicted in À la recherche du temps perdu. In 1893 and 1894, Marcel stayed with his mother in appartment #110, on the first floor of Hôtel des Roches. Built by Cordier in 1866, the hotel included an arms room, a hydrotherapic spa and gambling rooms that attracted the dandies of the time. Proust wrote there a few minor texts, later published in the anthology Les Plaisirs et les Jours. In 1893, Geneviève Strauss, the widow of the musician Georges Bizet and the owner in Paris of a brilliant salon, built the Clos des Mûriers estate, close to the Roches Noires. In 1907, Proust abandoned Trouville for Cabourg, where the Grand Hôtel was more confortable and suitable to Marcel's health problems. Nearly 70 years later, the writer Marguerite Duras bought appartment #110 in the Roches Noires. Count René de Obaldia, a member of the French Acadmy famous for his whimsical theater plays Du vent dans les branches de sassafras, Monsieur Klebs et Rozalie and Les innocentines, also lived at Hôtel des Roches.
Marguerite Duras described the incredible alignment of estztes along the beach of Trouville as "the most beautiful tracking of the history of cinema". These old estates built in a great diversity of pseudo-styles (Normand manors, alpine houses, Moorish pavilions with minarets etc.) at the end of the 19th century are still there in spite being eaten into by salt and wind.

The port of Trouville constitutes the second borough of the town. Its main building is the fish auction building (description). In 1934, the newly elected Mayor Fernand Moureaux attempted to emphasize the traditional character of Trouville, as opposed to Deauville. The local architect Maurice Vincent built in 1936 a modern building inspired by the Lieutenance house and the porch of the St. Catherine church in Honfleur. The building, one of the best examples of the neo-Normand architecture of the first half of the 20th century, was registered in 1992 on the list of protected heritage by the French Institute of Architecture.

Ivan Sache, 20 December 2003

Flag of Trouville

The flag of Trouville (photo, photo, photo, photo, photo), used at least since 2010, is white with the municipal logo, which includes a representation of the municipal coat of arms, "Azure a trouvillaise fishing boat argent a base vert a chief gules three mullets or the shield placed over by a big anchor".
The flag seen in 2008 (photo) was white with the municipal arms and the writing "Ville de Trouville", in lowercase letters below the arms. A similar flag was use in 2004, with the name of the municipality in capital letters (Wphoto, or without writing.

Other flag in Trouville


Other flag of Trouville - Image by Arnaud Leroy, 20 June 2004

In 2004, a red flag charged with the two leopards of Normandy in canton and the municipal emblem (coat of arms and anchor) in lower fly was hoisted on Pont des Belges, teh bridge that connects Trouveille to Deauville.

Ivan Sache, 20 June 2004

Flag of Trouville designed by Raymond Savignac


Flag designed by Savignac - Image by Arnaud Leroy & Olivier Touzeau, 4 January 2004

The designer Raymond Savignac (1907-2002) started his long career in 1933. Initially inspired by the famous art deco poster designer Cassandre (Adolphe Mouron, 1901-1968), Savignac progressively invented his personal style, the humoristic advertisement. Always made of a pithy drawing related to the advertized product, his posters never include additional, off-topic details.
Savignac's first big success was the poster advertizing the Monsavon au lait (lit., My milky soap) soap, depicting soap directly released by the cow udder. This poster, sticked up in 1949 in the corridors of the Paris subway, was a breath of fresh air after the Second World War deprivations and censorship.
Savignac completely renovated the conception of advertizing posters by systematically using "graphical gags". In 1960, his poster advertizing the Floréal pasta (Les pâtes qui n'empâtent pas, the pasta which do not make you put on weight) featured a character made of a spaghetti eating himself. In 1965, his poster advertizing the Paris-Rhône vacuum cleaner depicted the character's hat and hairs sucked by the vacuum cleaner. Savignac often represented himself as the main character on his posters, as a small moustached jolly character, for instance on the Mazda battery poster.
The 1950s-1960s were Savignac's most prolific years. In the 1970s, advertizers abandoned Savignac, who started a second career as the designer of official posters, for instance for the National Lottery, the UEFA Euro 1984, the National Library (Voltaire exhibition, 1979) and Musée de l'Homme (1981). Savignac also designed film posters, for instance for Robert Bresson (Lancelot du Lac, 1974) and Yves Robert (Courage fuyons !, 1979). One of his last official work included two posters for an anti-drug campaign set up by the French Gendarmerie in 1995.

Raymond Savignac spent the last twenty years of his life in Trouville, where he remained extremely active until he passed away, aged 95. He designed a lot of posters advertizing the town, its hotels, restaurants, etc., which completely revamped the image of the town. In 1986, the Bal des Affiches was organized to celebrate him, and, of course, he designed the ball poster. A room of the municipal museum housed in Villa Montebello was dedicated to Savignac's work in 1993. In 2001, the beach boardwalk was renamed Promenade Savignac and decorated with copies of his most famous posters.

Savignac designed a flag for Trouville ((photo), blue with the name of the town in white and a "graphical gag" involving the "V" of Trouville and a seagull.

Ivan Sache, 4 January 2004

Club Nautique de Trouville-Hennequeville


Burgee of CNTH - Image by Ivan Sache, 19 May 2001

Hennequeville is located 5 km north of Trouville. The burgee of Club Nautique de Trouville-Hennequeville (CNTH, website) is blue with a red horizontal triangle extending from hoist to fly.

Ivan Sache, 19 May 2001

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