COLETTE

Writer

Deauville : "A temperate Monte-Carlo"

From July 24th to September 2nd 1952, Colette has been living in Deauville for the first time, for a period of 5 weeks. She was suffering from hip osteoarthritis. Unable to walk, she used a wheelchair.

Hot temperatures were not recommended to her, so that summer she decided, with Maurice Goudeket, her husband, not to go on holiday to the South of France. They opted for Deauville, where Ilhamy Hussein Pacha, Pacha d’Egypte, had invited her, describing Deauville as "a temperate Monte-Carlo". In fact, Deauville had a casino situated close to the sea and a first-class hotel, reasons why they decided to leave their house, situated close to the Palais-Royal,...to stay in the Royal. She was accompanied by Maurice Goudeket and the devoted Pauline Tissandier, her female companion.

In Deauville, where their friends were spending so much time, they found much lower temperatures than they expected. Colette stayed longtime outside, when the sun was shining. In the evening, in the dining room of the Royal, she had dinner with a cover on her shoulders and, even in August, she never forgot to put a hot water bottle in her bed before going to sleep.

In a letter sent to Moune and to Toutounet, talking about the personnel of the Hotel Royal, she said:
“That summer, in the Royal Hotel of Deauville, the personnel was very considerate: they never forgot to put some flowers on my table.”

From Deauville, she wrote to her daughter, Bel Gazou, on July 23th:
“Maurice organized for me a short journey that the rain did not manage to ruin. The smell of the sea that I had forgotten touched our faces, passing through the large grasslands bordering the sea…”

That summer, Maurice Goudeket accompanied Colette, on her wheelchair, on the Boardwalk, bordering the beach. He took her to the cinema, or to see the events organized by the great hall of the Casino. “Many strangers stop me to have signatures and autographs", she said to Moune, "but Maurice keeps them politely away, as you already know."

Some days before leaving to reach Deauville, she wrote to Pierre Moréno, the son of her great friend Marguerite Moréno:
"I had a very bad week. Am I going to feel better in Deauville?
Don’t make fun of me, I’ve never seen Deauville before. Maybe this invitation will be an opportunity to relax for one month.
But for the moment I am very tired, - and I’m terribly suffering."