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The Duchess of Berry started the fashion of seaside breaks in 1822 in Dieppe, encouraged by doctors who promoted the range of health benefits of such a holiday. Along the coastline comprised of harbours, the main resorts were considered to be Granville and Coutainville.


Local inhabitants, from around Coutances, began building holiday homes along the coast in 1860, in order to make the most of the beach and the joys of sea bathing.  Initially there were just simple wooden beach huts or chalets that have subsequently grown into amazing seaside villas - all of which have created an eclectic architectural-style much appreciated by locals and visitors alike!  However, in the period between the two World Wars when paid holidays became the norm, the fashion for second homes increased.

At Pirou Plage, not far from the sailors’ chapel built in 1926, there are several elaborately-built villas: a totally white house built by an Italian entrepreneur, known as the "Villa Mosca" which is decorated with columns, fanned staircase and balcony, or perhaps the villas named after their builders, such as "Macagna" or "Brette" decorated with fluted pilasters and gargoyles taken straight from the Middle Ages or fairy stories!
 

At Saint-Germain-sur-Ay-Plage, there are several examples of buildings from the 1930s, between the Two World Wars, typical of "Art Deco" style : the Miramar, currently home to students of La Manche’s Public School, was once a hotel which has retained the purity of its architecture through the simplicity of its form and white exterior.  The villa named "Sans Soucis", set on the seafront facing the Channel Islands, is a fine example of neo-Norman architecture.