In 1954, the success of Bonjour Tristesse catapulted a 19-year-old unknown into the limelight: Françoise Sagan, a fragile novelist who immediately became the heroine of a generation. She was one of the figures of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, and the Saint Tropez of the 60s. The author of Bonjour Tristesse discovered the Normandy coast in 1959 and embraced Deauville. Both had a taste for parties, horse racing, vast beaches that soothed, gaming tables that electrified and gang trips that welded friendships.

From July 8 to August 8, 1959, Françoise Sagan rented the Manoir du Breuil in Equemauville, a property with 8 hectares of parkland, located between Deauville and Honfleur. On August 7, Françoise Sagan, Jacques Chazot and Bernard Franck set off for Deauville for a final evening at the gaming tables. The episode is now famous. In the early hours of the morning, after playing the 8 several times at roulette, the future author of Bonheur, Impair et passe is overjoyed to have won 8 million francs (a little over 200,000 euros today). Back at the manor house, she finds the owner impatient to take stock of the property. She asked him if he didn't want to sell the house. He replied in the affirmative, stating that the house had been appraised at 8 million euros. Françoise Sagan then took out a wad of cash from her handbag and handed it to him before his stunned eyes. "We were on August 8, now I'd won with the 8, he was selling it for 8 million old, it was 8 o'clock in the morning, what did you want me to do against all that?... I took the tickets out of my evening purse, which was overflowing with them, and put them in his hand, before going to bed triumphantly, in what was to be - and has remained to this day - my only possession on earth, a house that's still a bit run-down, located three kilometers from Honfleur (and twelve from Deauville)".

The return journey that evening along the road that follows the sea from Deauville to Honfleur, in an old convertible despite the cold, and accompanied by exultant friends, was one of the most delicious moments of my existence. I'd spent a week in purgatory, it had almost ended badly, I'd got away with it, and the sea was gray on the left, and the grass dark green on the right, and the whole earth belonged to me.
Françoise Sagan, Avec mon meilleur souvenir, © Gallimard 1984

To mark the 10th anniversary of her death, the City of Deauville paid tribute to Françoise Sagan on September 27, 2014, in two stages punctuated by the number 8. After the unveiling of a plaque at the Bar du Soleil, a unique 88-minute evening in the Casino theater combined screenings, readings, testimonials and songs to rediscover Françoise Sagan, her voice, her vivacity, her words and her songs. The plaque reads:

... in this abandoned, scorching October Deauville, I looked out at the empty sea, at the frantic seagulls skimming the planks, at the white sun and, against the light, at a few characters who looked like they'd come out of Visconti's Death in Venice.
And me, alone at last, letting my hands dangle like dead game on either side of my chaise longue.
Back to solitude, to dreamy adolescence, to what you should never leave, but which others - hell, heaven - keep forcing you to desert. But here, the others could do nothing between me and this triumphant autumn.

Françoise Sagan, Des bleus à l'âme, © Flammarion 1972 © Stock 2009


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14910 Blonville-sur-Mer
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14800 Touques
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Promenade Louis Delamare
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14800 Tourgéville
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