LE BRISTOL ET LA ROTONDE, ICONIC FIGURES OF BEAULIEU SUR MER

9 January 2017

LE BRISTOL ET LA ROTONDE, ICONIC FIGURES OF BEAULIEU SUR MER

True architectural masterpiece of the Belle Epoque, the Rotonde de Beaulieu rises in front of the sea and catches the eye of the passers-by and visitors of the town.

Large circular room with glass-faced apses and a cupola with cut-off sides, the Rotonde is a former outbuilding of the Hotel Bristol, built between 1899 and January 1904 at the request of the British clientele of the palace to serve tea.

This lounge was built in the south continuation of the building by the same architect, the Danish Hans-Georg Tersling.

The Hotel Bristol, financed by a London furniture manufacturer, Sir John Blundell Maple, was built in record time, like many palaces on the Riviera during the Belle Epoque, between February 1897 and December 16, 1898.

Inaugurated on January 5, 1899, the palace comprises 300 luxuriously equipped rooms, including bathrooms fed with heated sea water, spread over 5 floors with 60 rooms per floor. The building has high roofs evoking the style of an English castle.

On March 28th 1911, in the evening, fanned by a strong wind, a fire broke out in a chimney and spread to the top two floors of the building and to its entire cover. Following the intervention of the firemen of Beaulieu and Nice and of the Chasseurs Alpins, the fire is mastered by flooding the upper floors.

Thanks to the reinforced cement structure of the building, the lower part of the building remains relatively intact, the fire reducing the upper two floors to nothing.

The rest of the hotel is quickly rehabilitated and the Bristol reopens for the winter season of 1911-1912, amputated from the destroyed floors and with a classic roof in red tiles with a slight slope.

Converted into a high-end condominium by the promoter Saglia in 1954, the Bristol loses part of its gardens as well as the tennis courts, ceded to the municipality of Beaulieu. The building retains its original appearance, decoration and part of the lobby.

La Rotonde was for his part neglected and left without maintenance, threatened with demolition and finally expropriated for the benefit of the municipality in the 1970s. Transformed into a conference center in 1982 and operated by the Partouche group, it will not be any more used from 2001. Again abandoned during 10 years, it now shelters, since October 2011, the Salons de la Rotonde Lenôtre and took back its festive vocation and initial receptive.

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