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The Franciscaines site is located in Deauville, 5 minutes from the sea, 10 minutes from the Place de la Mairie de Deauville on foot, on Avenue de la République. Since its construction in 1876, it has fulfilled multiple missions: orphanage, school, hospital, and place of life of the Congregation of the Franciscan Sisters. In 2012, they chose to sell these buildings to the City of Deauville so that it could set up a place of life and transmission. They now live nearby.

Saint-Joseph Orphanage - South Side® A. Basley
Nursery and children - Franciscans© Yves Aublet
The Franciscan Sisters© François Louchet

The Franciscans are rooted in a site that is part of the memory of the Deauvillais. This place devoted to hospitality and education in the past continues today through its cultural project its missions of mediation and transmission. This is the City's choice: to reinvest the heritage complex with a new life rather than build new equipment. 

The place is organized around the Saint-Joseph building (1876) originally composed of classrooms and dormitories on the first floor.
To the right of the Saint-Joseph building, the conventual spaces reserved for the life of Franciscans: a chapel, a square garden surrounded by a cloister and common rooms (refectory, kitchen, library, etc.). Upstairs, the sisters' rooms where the universes are now installed.
On the left of the Saint-Joseph building, a wing in return of square, forming a square courtyard at the rear, now room for temporary exhibitions.

© François Louchet

Reception and transmission

1875> 1881
Three sisters from the Somme and from a pious family, ADELE, JOSEPHINE AND MARIE-ANTOINETTE MERIGAULT decide to get involved in works of charity by founding a hospital for sailors and helping the children of sailors who have disappeared at sea. Unable to find the necessary land in Trouville - where they lived until the death of their customs father - they opted in 1875 for Deauville, which then had a lot of free land on either side of the church.
They build the first building - the Saint Joseph building - then transform their project into an orphanage for the daughters of sailors.
After having suffered several refusals from religious communities to take care of children, the Franciscan nuns of Notre-Dame de Pitié in Perrou (Orne) accepted the proposal. Four sisters arrived in Deauville on June 29, 1878 with limited means. They founded in 1881 the COMMUNITY OF THE FRANCISCANS OF NOTRE-DAME DE LA PITIE DE DEAUVILLE.
The community cares for orphans, cares for the sick and receives donations.
New buildings were built in 1883 and 1897, notably with the help of the Biesta-Monrival family.
1914> 1919
In 1914, the orphanage was transformed into an auxiliary hospital. The Red Cross and donations complete the equipment. After treating more than a thousand wounded, it closed on January 1, 1919 and returned to its function as an orphanage. With the surplus of medical material belonging to the Red Cross, the local committee decides to found a dispensary.





At the beginning of the 30s, the construction of CLINIQUE SAINT FRANCOIS was decided. This work is entrusted to the architect Caennais PICHEREAU, to whom we owe the construction of the Villa Strassburger. A HOUSEHOLD SCHOOL was founded in 1938 for young girls from the surrounding area.


After the war, the sisters decided to strengthen vocational education in the social and health sectors. A building was constructed for this purpose in 1954.


In 1971, LYCÉE PROFESSIONNEL SAINT-JOSEPH became a private high school under contract with the State. Today, the establishment brings together A COLLEGE AND A HIGH SCHOOL. The clinic was replaced by the polyclinic in 1973. It was then transformed into a rehabilitation center. An extension was built in 1977 including a swimming pool, adapted showers, occupational therapy and physiotherapy services. At the same time, the orphanage is receiving fewer and fewer children of sailors who have died at sea. We now take in children who have been disturbed by the separation of their parents.


The Franciscan sisters have chosen to re-organize their activities in more suitable and more functional premises and to build a new convent, a vocational school and a nursing aid school. They dedicate the land near the polyclinic to the construction of a real estate program consisting of 52 housing units in rental usufruct: La Villa Gabrielle. Finally, they propose to the City of Deauville to buy three buildings with a surface area of ​​4400m² on the condition of preserving the spirit of places marked by transmission, education and sharing. The financial conditions of the sale put back on the agenda the project of a place of culture for the City, abandoned in 2009 in an economic context of crisis.