This famous architect has forever left his mark on Hardelot.
Hardelot would not be Hardelot without its famous villas! In the forest or in the heart of the town, these villas embody the elegance of the resort. They also have a story to tell... In 1905, John Whitley, the owner of Hardelot château since 1897, fell in love with the area. He bought 500 hectares of scrubland surrounding his estate, had beachgrass planted to stabilise the dunes and created a golf course which started from the top of one of the towers in his château! The businessman had one thing in mind: to make Hardelot the latest fashionable resort and a world-class centre for sport...
The birth of a resort
John Whitley thought big. He enlisted the famous architect, Louis-Marie Cordonnier with the urban planning of the resort. From1908 onwards, Louis-Marie Cordonnier worked on the construction of huge and unusual villas. One of them belonged in 1911 to Louis Blériot, the first man to fly a plane across the Channel. The famous aviator had ‘l'Escopette’, an enormous dwelling with no less than 32 bedrooms, built on the seafront. It was destroyed during the Second World War, as were many of its companions.
An open-air museum
Eight villas survived the bombing and today testify to the splendour of the time. You have to go to the Place Louis-Marie Cordonnier to admire the architect’s handiwork. ‘Les Beaux Jours’, ‘le Bon Gîte’, ‘La Vie à la Campagne’, ‘l'Hurtebise’... they all proudly look out across the historic square and seem to defy the passing of time. Both robust and full of fun, they display the Anglo-Norman style in all its beauty and romance. With their unique woodwork, corbels and friezes, you never tire of admiring all the details. These picturesque ‘cottages’ positioned around the square remind us of the resort's DNA and return us to a bygone era whose excitement can still be felt. It makes for an enjoyable visit.