The work is a modern-day take on a statue which was placed there by Jean-Émile Lacaze, the first owner of the accompanying villa which was one of the first to be built in the town upon its creation in 1906. Indeed, Lacanau-Océan is a relatively young town, founded as the result of the extension beyond the inland town of Lacanau of the railway line from Bordeaux (loyal readers will be familiar with the subject, as the route is now a popular cycle path).
|The original statue as featured on a postcard promoting |
the restaurant business which later took over the building.
|The same view today.|
|A train arriving at |
the station and (bottom)
Les Bains Lacaze
as seen from the beach
The villa was later converted into a restaurant, known aptly enough as “Le Matelot”. In the meantime, Jean-Émile Lacaze had become a respected figure around town, founding “Les Bains Lacaze” in 1908. This seawater thalassotherapy establishment on the seafront made a substantial contribution to the development of the resort, particularly during its 1930s heyday.
Returning to our villa, the original statue disappeared from view during the wartime years in the 1940s and the rooftop remained bare for many years. But as Lacanau-Océan prepared to celebrate its centenary in 2006, the association of home-owners in the town raised money to reinstate the once-familiar figure. They commissioned local artist Frédéric Hauselmann to produce the new life-like statue, which was unveiled by mayor Jean-Michel David on July 9th of that centenary year.
|Tarmac where the railway lines used to be!|
- Find it: Allée du Matelot (!), Lacanau-Océan.