IMG_4254When I was in Deauville, I thoroughly enjoyed a long walk on the beach. Amid all the beautiful homes and hotels, one massive structure really stood out. It was much more like a château than a summer home – there was even a flying buttress on one side – but it was abandoned and in very rough shape. Some windows were boarded up, some were empty of glass, and some still had elaborate curtains hanging in the window.

imageWhen I got back to my hotel, I searched for the history of the house online.  I found that the house was known originally by two different names, La Tour Carrée, after its bulky, square tower, and Villa Mors, after the family who had lived there. It was actually outside of Deauville (there are no town lines on a beach) and in Tourgeville-les-Sablons. The Mors brothers were early pioneers in the automobile industry. Together, they constructed this grand home in 1905. André Citroën became chairman of the company in 1908 but shut it down entirely in 1925. The Mors factory produced Citroën cars thereafter. While Citroën has remained a household name, not much remains of the Mors company except this empty hulk on the side of the sea.

imageDélabré (day-lab-ray) means dilapidated, and it certainly fits this once grand house. I had a fantasy that the New England boarding school I work at could buy Villa Mors and transform it into our French campus. We could even stay in shape after crêpe binges by running along the beach. Maybe we could crowd-fund my brilliant idea? All donations gratefully received.

imageRick Steves Normandy 

About Patricia Gilbert

Patricia Gilbert is a French teacher. She's Canadian, lives in the United States, but dreams of living in France. Follow her on Instagram @Onequalitythefinest and on Twitter @1qualthefinest.
This entry was posted in Architecture, French Vocabulary, Travel and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Délabré

  1. ddoosterhoff says:

    I do think this house has your name on it!

  2. Norman Ball says:

    Sounds wonderful. Good luck and please let me know if you need a resident laid-back historian cum grandpa. I would be happy to be there. Could also be accompanied by a wonderful editor and writer (French and English.) Keep up the good work; your blog often makes my day.

  3. Fiona Finch says:

    Bonne chance ! I really enjoy your posts and I’d gladly make a contribution to your crowd-funding project ☺.

    Date: Tue, 19 Jul 2016 10:54:08 +0000
    To: le-grenier@live.co.uk

  4. Jashiin says:

    Thank you for this post. I was happy to find it when researching the history of the place on the Internet – looks like I’m not the only person to be impressed by the place. If you like, you can check out my findings and some photographs I’ve made at https://www.flickr.com/photos/jashiin/albums/72157675119831852 (the story is in the description of the first photograph).

    I’d also gladly contribute to the crowd-funding project if it were to happen 🙂

    • Great photos! I hope that scaffolding means that someone is starting to take care of this amazing house.
      How many millions can I put you down for?

      • Jashiin says:

        I hope so too, although the place was dead quiet and I didn’t see any, you know, fresh debris or something.
        Also, I think it’d have to be around 0.0001 millions, give or take, unless I literally strike gold, maybe on another vacation… always a possibility I suppose.

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