More research for our trip!
I need to research La Baule. My Momy speaks so often about the BIG sand beach and all the restaurants. She says it was SO beautiful.
La Baule is considered a seaside residence for the haute bourgeois Maybe Fraisette and Pommette can explain what that means. The correct name is La Baule-Escoublac. It has villas, luxury hotels, restaurants, old Breton houses and a casino. The main attraction is a 12 kilometer-long sand beach. Now I understand why my Momy, Fraisette and Pommette always spoke about the sand beaches lovingly.
A history lesson!
In 1779, a violent storm buried the village under sand. La Baule-Escoublac was rebuilt further inland. Only customs officers continued to occupy the unstable dunes.
In 1879 the railroad extension from Saint Nazaire to Le Croisic was started. This started a large tourist industry.
A new town is created!
Just before the railroad opened Jules-Joseph Hennecart commissioned local architect Georges Lafont to design this new town. Lafont designed a long sand promenade named Avenue de la Gare (today Avenue du Général-de-Gaulle) and a chapel. Lafont also built more than 250 villas, some of which are still standing.
That was a very long time ago!
Let’s make it a tourist destination!!
In 1918, casino business magnate François André, decided to build a resort based on Deauville. He combined casinos, luxury hotels and sports facilities. In near-by Pornichet there is a Hippodrome for horse racing. The Grand Prix de la Ville de La Baule is an equestrian show jumping competition that is part of the Equestrian Nations Cup Series.
World War II
During World War II La Baule was strategically located near Saint Nazaire, which was the home of one of the biggest U-Boat stations the Germans ever built. Saint Nazaire not only serviced the German submarine fleet, but was also the only dry dock on the Atlantic capable of housing the German battleships of the Bismarck-class.
La Baule and the surrounding areas were heavily occupied by the Germans throughout World War II. There is a memorial in the Parc de la Victoire in La Baule to the war victims.
La Baule and Saint Nazaire were so important to the Germans that they continued to fight for nine months longer than in the rest of the department, eventually surrendering on May 11, 1945 (3 days after the German unconditional surrender), making this one of the last liberated parts of France. This episode is called Poche de Saint-Nazaire from the French expression poche de resistance.
The new La Baule
La Baule has changed since the first half of the 20th century. La Baule is no longer one of France’s most exclusive seaside resorts. It has become much more democratized since the 1960s with many seasonal rentals and all types of restaurants.
Fraisette, Pommette, the Big Brown Bear and I will love sitting on the sand beach and going into the water. I cannot swim! I need to learn quickly.
Where is my bear phone??!!