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Calvados (Department, France): Yacht clubs

Last modified: 2005-04-09 by
Keywords: calvados | cabourg | letters: cyc (black) | letters: cyc (red) | caen-ouistreham | star (white) |
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Cabourg Yacht Club

[CYC burgee]by Ivan Sache

Cabourg (3,500 inhabitants) is a sea resort located on the Normand Côte Fleurie. Cabourg is separated from the neighbouring city of Dives-sur-Mer by the river Dives. William the Bastard set up the expedition which made of him William the Conqueror in the ancient port of Dives.
Cabourg is of much more recent origin. The city developed in the XIXth century from a round square located behind the casino and the Grand Hôtel. The main streets fan out from the sqaure and are linked by semi-circular secondary streets. Cabourg has a long promenade, built along the sand beach. Like in Trouville and Houlgate, the promenade is bordered by a line of villas, whose architectural value is, however, lower than in Trouville.

The Grand Hôtel, built on the promenade, is the main building of Cabourg. It was immortalized by Marcel Proust as the Grand Hôtel of Balbec, an imaginary city very similar to Cabourg.
Proust went to Cabourg every summer from 1907 to 1914, where he met a colourful jet-set and gambled a lot. Several elements of these stays were reused in the second part of A l'ombre des jeunes filles en fleur, which is the second section of A la recherche du temps perdu, published in 1918.

The second part of A l'ombre des jeunes filles en fleur (Noms de pays: le pays) describes the first stay of the narrateur (who is a kind of double of the author, since the novel is entirely written in the first person, starting with the enigmatic Longtemps je me suis couché de bonne heure) in Balbec with his grandmother. During this stay, the narrator met important characters such as madame de Villeparisis and his nephew Robert de Saint-Loup, baron Palamède de Charlus, the painter Elstir and of course the "blossoming young girls". This section of the novel is probably the most poetic one, including impressionist descriptions of the sea shore and the pleasant agitation of the narrator when he met the young girls. It also includes a very ironic description of the manners of the upper society of the end of the XIXth - beginning of the XXth century during the summer season on the Normand coast.
The second and last stay of the narrator in Balbec is much less poetic. It is related in Sodome et Gomorrhe, the third section of the novel, published in 1922. Introduced in the high society, the narrator progressively discovers that all the things he formerly enjoyed and admired are not worth being considered. Falling in love with Albertine, one of the young girls, he discovers jealousy when learning she is (or maybe is not) a "Gomorrhean". The second stay in Balbec ends with the brutal decision of narrator to come back to Paris with Albertine. Here again, there is a parallel with Proust's decision to come back to Paris with his driver Agostinelli and his wife. Proust was in love with Agostinelli, who later ran away and died in the crash of his plane in the Mediterranean Sea. Proust never recovered from Agostinelli's death and transposed this crisis into Albertine's run away and death in a horse fall.

The Grand Hôtel was about to be destroyed when Bruno Coquatrix decided to save it in 1956. Coquatrix was the founder and owner of the legendary Olympia music-hall in Paris. Later elected mayor of Cabourg, Coquatrix invited several famous artists to Cabourg. The Grand Hôtel, now property of the group Accor, has been recently renovated in his original style. The dining room with the big windows which remained open in summertime according to Proust, is nearly identical to the place were the narrator and Albertine had lunch. The room where Proust stayed, which is extensively described in the novel (the narrator is extremely puzzled by his completely new environment), has also been reconstituted and might be visited when not booked.
The promenade of Cabourg is of course called Promenade Marcel Proust, although it is today probably very different from the promenade where Proust walked. It is for instance forbidden to bike on the promenade, whereas the narrator noticed Albertine for the first time because she biked on the promenade, erroneously assuming she was a kind of whore running after bikers.

Unfortunately, there is no flag in Cabourg inspired by Marcel Proust. To be honest, there is very little commercial concern with Proust in Cabourg, in spite of the huge numbers of foreign tourists who visit Cabourg because of Proust. I noticed only a small shop called A la recherche du temps perdu, which sold fairly nice things related to Proust.

The only flag I have noticed in Cabourg is the burgee of Cabourg Yacht Club (CYC). CYC is based on the new marina of Cabourg, set up in the estuary of the river Dives. The burgee of CYC is horizontally divided green-white-green with the black letters CYC in the middle of the white stripe.

[CYC burgee?]by Ivan Sache

The list of the clubs affiliated to Yacht Club de France shows the burgee of CYC as green with the letters CYC in red.

Ivan Sache, 21 December 2003

Société des Régates de Caen-Ouistreham

[SRCO flag]by Ivan Sache

The flag of Société des Régates de Caen-Ouistreham, founded in 1892, is red with a blue diamond charged with a white star. There must be a burgee based on the same design.

Source: Yacht Club de France website (affiliated clubs)

Ivan Sache, 25 December 2004