Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Palais de la Mediterranee


The Palais de la Mediterranee is unmissable. Its facade dominates the Promenade des Anglais and it faces the Baie des Anges face on. It's very much a symbol of the wealth, style and opulence associated with the Cote d'Azur over the years and as befits such an incredible building it comes with its own fascinating history:
The building was designed and built in 1929, opened as a casino and was lauded as the most beautiful example of Art Deco built between the two wars. Of course it attracted the rich and famous who at that time were turning the French Riviera into a celebrity playground; they could win or lose their fortunes at the tables in the Palais or watch France's favourite entertainers, Jacques Brel, Maurice Chevalier, Edith Piaf and Mistinguette in the theatre. Works of art lined the stairs and corridors..
But by the 1970s the building had fallen into disrepair beset by scandal as organised crime tried to establish a foothold in the riviera gambling business, and the facade was declared a historic monument...not a moment too soon; the following year, 1990, the Palais was demolished leaving the facade standing alone behind hoardings.
However, in 2004 the Palais reopened after a long and careful renovation as a hotel and casino. How the architects and designers approached the project is fascinating: the facade, cleaned up and renovated of course, remains exactly the same and the nine storey luxury hotel has been tucked on behind it. This is the official web site of the hotel should you be looking for a pleasant weekend away from it all or should you just wish to browse through the photos..
I'm hoping to be able to take some photos of the interior as well next week. (Actually I'm looking forward to having a cocktail in the lounge)
I'm not very happy with this photo at all. I took several from various angles and picked this one because it showed more precisely the imposing bulk of the building. It really is pretty big. I thought the black and white would create a link with its heyday but it's failed to pick out the detail on the columns. Ah well...

PS A grand merci to Laurent of Chateau-Gontier who tweaked my photo so that it looked as I had imagined it. I haven't displayed it yet...but will...

6 comments:

Olivier said...

beau choix ce b&w, j'adore les casinos, enfin avec modération ;o))

Laurie said...

Je suis d'accord avec le choix de noir et blanc. Je suis heureux le casino et la vie apportée par hôtel à cette structure.

Thanks for the nice comment at my blog today. I am enjoying your photos.

:-)

tut-tut said...

I would feel somewhat intimidated to enter, even to have a drink!

babooshka said...

I am in a very happy place with this image. I am transfixed by the building. When it comes to the South of France, the photographer in me just waves by by and I just go ga ga for all of it. Sad isn't it to see a professional reduced to a dribbling idiot over geography.

I will sit a while and stare at it and re read your post in avery place.

Louis la Vache said...

"Louis" loves these Art Deco buildings! This looks like it is a real gem!

Re your question about Mount Tamalpais - "Louis" hasn't been up there in some time, but he and Mme. la Vache are going this weekend, camera in hand!

Kelly said...

Love this shot, Angela!