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Historical heritage

Plage KursaalOriginally "Houlgate" (etymology: "holr" meaning narrow and "gata" meaning way in Scandinavian) was only the name of a hill on the right bank of the Drochon river in the town of Beuzeval. With the sea bath development of the the right bank of Drochon, that is to say the side of "Houlgate", the town was named "Beuzeval-Houlgate” in 1898. On 21st January 1905 "Houlgate" became the official name of the town.


A Real Estate Company to create the new town "Houlgate" 

Le CasinoOn March 16, 1858 was created the real estate company “S.C.I. Beuzeval” (official name of the town) headquartered in Lisieux. That was the beginning of the urbanization: villas, shops, schools and hotels were built to accommodate spa guests previously hosted in private homes. Some travelers preferred to rent cottages and villas or even decided to build their own. Villas soon became the symbol of the resort thanks to fancy embellishments and to the glitz that prevailed at this time.



Seaside architecture: a field of experimentation

The architects were experts of the architecture of the past and designed residential houses as ornamented as monuments for the Second Empire bourgeoisie and aristocracy, in 4 major architectural styles:

Villa les Clochettes

Villa Ginette1860-1870: great architectural styles: gothic, renaissance and classical were highlighted. The interior drawing is simple and symmetrical.

1870-1880: the volume of houses increased, the inner drawing was more complex. The return to Norman style has begun.

1880-1895: The regionalist style established itself as a return to a timeless local architecture.

1895-1914: The regional style was simplified, creative delusions became out of date, the villa is more functional.

Famous vacationers

As a renowned holiday destination, Houlgate has hosted a privileged clientele of merchants who made their fortune during the industrial revolution of the 19th century.

Other vacationers hold positions in law: judges, lawyers, court presidents. Others were annuitants or doctors. The political world was also represented: senators, councilors, MPs or ministers enjoyed holidaying in Houlgate.

Among the tenants of villas or luxury hotel rooms were celebrities, famous people who gave Houlgate its glory days.

Naturally, the cliffs “les Vaches Noires” were an interest for the artists of the romantic period. Paul HUET and Leon RIESENER were great pre-impressionist painters who lived in Beuzeval before the resort creation. They attracted Léon BELLY, orientalist painter, Berthe MORISOT or Edgar DEGAS.

Acquaintances of Houlgate founders came from musical, literary, show business cinema and aviation worlds. All these personalities were seduced by walks, sea bathing, cultural activities of the casino and various sport activities. All of them were seeking the luxury of the city in the country, with sea view!