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La Baule-Escoublac (Municipality, Loire-Atlantique, France)

Last modified: 2017-04-30 by ivan sache
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Flag of La Baule-Escoublac - Image by Pascal Vagnat, 13 June 2014


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Presentation of La Baule-Escoublac

The municipality of La Baule-Escoublac (16,112 inhabitants in 2011; 2,219 ha; municipal website) is located 80 km west of Nantes. Originally named Escoublac-La Baule, the municipality was renamed La Baule-Escoublac by a Decree adopted on 13 November 1961 by the Municipal Council and confirmed on 10 May 1962 by the French government. However, the municipality is usually known as La Baule.
La Baule is famous for its 9-km long sand beaches, equipped with 750 blue-white-striped tents removed every evening, and with 170 wooden lockers.

Escoublac, originally established on the shore (on the site of the today's Great Dune) around a priory depending on the abbey of Marmoutier (1050), was relocated 1 km away in the hinterland in 1779 because of the frequent sand storms that progressively buried the village. It was insinuated that the villagers had caused the trouble by cutting the plants fixing the dunes to make brooms and by allowing sheep to graze on the dunes. Under the Restoration, the area was still threatened by the dunes. The government commissioned several contractors to fix 700 ha of dunes with coniferous trees; the western part was fixed by the Société Benoît, whose name is remembered by the matching borough of La Baule, while its eastern part was fixed by the Société des Dunes.

Tourism in the area started in 1830 in Le Croisic. The railway line connecting Saint-Nazaire to Le Croisic, inaugurated in 1879, stopped at the small station of Escoublac, located in the desert place known as La Bôle near a customs hut. Hennecart and Darlu, two representatives of the railway company, purchased a plot of 40 ha in La Bôle and convinced local contractors and merchants to establish a sea resort from scratch. The spice trader Gageot, nicknamed "Préfet of La Bôle", designed the map of the new town, arranged around a main street connecting the railway station to the sea. A promenade and a landing stage were set up. Two hotels, a chapel, a public garden and vacation houses for rent were erected in order to convince investors to acquire plots. Renamed La Baule in 1896, the sea resort increased in significance in the first decade of the 20th century.
The woody land located between Escoublac and La Baule was sold in 1895 by the Société des Dunes to the Société des Instituts Marins, founded by the Pavie family, from Paris, to establish a health institute for "tuberculous children from rich families". Vacation houses proliferated around the Marine Institute, transformed in a palace in 1902. Pavie established a post and telegraph service, a power station (1900), a tramway, a casino (1904) and yet another palace (1908); the Pavie borough would remain until now the posh part of La Baule.

From 1920 to 1930, André Pavie increased the posh character of the Pavie borough, revamping the casino and establishing two new palaces, tennis courts, an equitation ground and a golf, transforming La Baule into a resort of international fame.
Lajarrige, a businessman from Paris, obtained the relocation of the railway line off the coast and developed there the new resort of La Baule-les Pins, arranged in a starry pattern around a central square and a main shopping street connecting the resort to the station and to the sea. The new borough was connected to the older part of the town by a seashore promenade known as "remblai" (embankment), soon a main element of the identity of the town. In the 1950-1960s, most of the old houses built on the "remblai" were replaced by big buildings, while camping places and vacation colonies were set up in the town.

Olivier Guichard (1920-2004) was Mayor of La Baule-Escoublac from 1971 to 1995. Guichard was one of the Gaullist "barons", a word coined in 1963 by the monthly Le Nouvel Observateur to designate the most fervent political supporters of General de Gaulle. Olivier Guichard was Representative at the National Assembly for the department of Loire-Atlantique (1967-1997) and President of the Regional Council of Region Pays de la Loire (1974-1998). Often listed among potential Prime Ministers, Guichard was Minister of National Education (1969-1972), of Transport (1974), and of Justice (1976-1977).

Ivan Sache, 13 June 2014


Flag of La Baule-Escoublac

The flag of La Baule-Escoublac (photo) is white with the municipal coat of arms in the middle.

The arms of La Baule are "Azure in base wavy azure and or a sun of the same a chief ermine plain. The shield surmounted by a coronet and surrounded by branches of pine vert fructed or. Beneath the shield a scroll or inscribed with the motto 'LABOR SOL ET MARE FULGEANT IN UNUM' ".
The base wavy represents the Atlantic Ocean, the beach of La Baule and the dunes of Escoublac. The chief recalls that La Baule is part of historical Brittany. The Latin motto reads "May Work the Sun and the Sea Shine Together".

The arms, designed by Adrien Grave (biography), were adopted on 20 January 1951 by the Municipal Council. Born in Paris, Grave mostly worked in La Baule and Pornichet. In La Baule-les-Pins, he designed several houses in Art Déco style and the St. Thérèse chapel, consecrated on 15 July 1928 and demolished in February 1972, when deemed obsolete. In Pornichet, he designed in 1925, together with Georges Vacon the Ker Souveraine house for Countess Suzanne Lanoue; designed in Italian neo-classical style, the house was registered as an historical monument in 2002. Grave designed in 1927 the railway station of La Baule-Escoublac, together with Roger Pons. His most impressive work is the ship-shaped house Les Korrigans, erected in 1934 in the pinewood of La Baule.

Ivan Sache, 13 June 2014


Yacht clubs

Cercle Nautique La Baule Le Pouliguen Pornichet

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Burgee of the CNBPP, current (left) and prevous version (right) - Images by Ivan Sache, 13 June 2010

In 1872, the three yacht clubs Cercle Nautique de La Baule, Société des Régates du Pouliguen and Centre de Voile et de Plaisance du Pouliguen were founded under the patronage of the municipal administrations of the neighbour sea resorts of La Baule and Le Pouliguen. They merged in 1970 to form the Cercle Nautique La Baule - Le Pouliguen (CNBP), renamed in 1979 Cercle Nautique La Baule - Le Pouliguen - Pornichet (CNBPP), following the involvement of the municipality of Pornichet in the yacht club.
Among several competitions, the CNBPP organized the transatlantic race La Baule - Dakar, won in 1980 by Marc Pajot, in 1983 by Pierre Follenfant, in 1987 by Loïc Peyron, and in 1991 by Laurent Bourgnon. Club member Yves Loday (b. 1955), together with Nicolas Hénard, won the gold medal in the Tornado class in the 1992 Olympic Games, held in Barcelona, and designed the Extreme40 catamaran.

The burgee of the CNBPP (image), is horizontally divided blue-light blue-blue with a yellow fimbriation between the blue stripes. The central light blue stripe is charged with the letters "CNBPP" in blue.
An earlier version of the club's website (no longer online) shows the burgee of the CNBPP as horizontally divided blue-light blue-blue with a white fimbriation between the blue stripes. The central light blue stripe is charged with the letters "CNBPP" in blue and a blue ermine, recalling that the area is part of historical Brittany.

Ivan Sache, 13 June 2010


Yacht Club de la Baule

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Flags of the YCB
From left to right, club's flag, club's burgee, and board member's burgee - Images by Ivan Sache, 25 December 2005

The flag of the YCLB (website) is made of five horizontal alternating blue and yellow stripes with the yellow letters "Y.C.L.B". in the median blue stripe. The burgee is triangular, in proportions 1:2. The members of the board of the club (President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer) can use a swallow-tailed burgee. The rectangular flag of the club can be hoisted on board during a yachting event.

Ivan Sache, 25 December 2005