Founder of Deauville

Charles Auguste Louis Joseph de Morny was born in Paris in September 17th 1811. The civil status certificate prepared on this occasion was a fake. His real father was Charles de Flahaut, French Empire general and brilliant State official. His mother was the Hortense Queen, whose second husband was Napoleon Bonaparte (he is then the stepbrother of Napoleon III).

The birth of the Duke of Morny remains a total mystery. Even the place of birth is unknown. In Switzerland? In Paris? In the surroundings of Aix, or in Montpellier? The Hortense Queen and Charles de Flahaut had undoubtedly some good reasons…

He helped to engineer the military coup of December 2nd 1851 (that, one year later, allowed Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte to become Emperor) and he was appointed to head the Ministry of the Interior. He was the President of the “Corps Législatif” (currently known as National Assembly) from 1854 to 1865, he participated to all the major industrial and financial operations of the Second Empire.

Summer 1858: the Duke of Morny was invited to Trouville by his personal doctor, Doctor Olliffe, at the head of the Casino hall of Trouville. Morny was a visionary: looking at 160 uncultivated hectars in front of Trouville, marshlands and 3 km of fine sand, he decided to use this area to create a seaside resort where the “tout-Paris” would be glad to go.

Some men, loyal friends, competent and ambitious men, with different background, decided to associate, with the same objective: creating “the kingdom of elegance”, as Morny said. Morny and Doctor Olliffe collaborated also with M. Donon, a Parisian banker, Director of the Ottoman Bank, who could find the necessary funds, and M. Breney, a Parisian architect designing the plan of the future city (he also became the 1st Mayor of Deauville).