Designer of high fashion

In 1983, Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé bought the Château Gabriel in Benerville-sur-Mer, where Proust met the publisher Gallimard. A great admirer of Marcel Proust, Yves-Saint-Laurent had his Norman castle decorated by Jacques Grange as a tribute to the writer. All the rooms in the villa were named after characters from "La Recherche du temps perdu".

The regulars have their rooms, Charlotte Aillaud is Oriane de Guermantes, Anne-Marie Muñoz is Albertine, Loulou and Thadée Klossowski are the Verdurins, Madison Cox is Morel, Betty Catroux is Madeleine Lemaire, Yves Saint Laurent is Charles Swann and Pierre Bergé is Baron Palamède de Charlus.

"This is my haven between two storms. I come here to replenish my strength between two anxieties," confided Yves Saint Laurent in a rare interview. Far from the mundane, the couturier liked to come and recharge his batteries at Château Gabriel, to draw and to live out his passion for decoration and horticulture. A recognized patron and neighbor of the parish, in 1977 he took charge of part of the restoration of the Saint-Laurent church in Deauville (notably the roof), an action that earned him the title of honorary citizen by Anne d'Ornano. In 1988, the association of the Friends of Saint Laurent Church gave the building a new bell. Yves Saint Laurent is the godfather and Anne d'Ornano the godmother. Today, the little church of Mont-Canisy is listed as a historical monument.

In September 2008, Philippe Augier, Mayor of Deauville, and Pierre Bergé inaugurated the Place Yves Saint Laurent in Deauville, at the crossroads of the Casino and the Printemps store. The event was part of the Journées du Patrimoine, the national theme of which was "Heritage and Creation". A theme made for Deauville whose history has been placed under the sign of creativity and arts for over a century.

"The most representative of this thirst for horticultural developments reminiscent of Goethe, the Prince of Line, and the entire Age of Enlightenment, is undoubtedly the park of the Château Gabriel, which they covered with the most astonishing fabrications. Crazy about Visconti, whose Death in Venice he particularly admired, Saint Laurent liked to think about the terrible fate of Louis II of Bavaria. With Pierre Bergé, the dream became matter. He had fir trees planted and dug a lake similar to the one where the virgin king had drowned. Another day, Yves having enjoyed Marguerite Duras' India Song, a room identical to the film's set was built. On another day, back from Leningrad (the city was still called Leningrad) where they had sponsored the restoration of Catherine II's costumes, the two lovers built a tea pavilion in the park of the Gabriel castle, modeled on the dachas that Peter the Great had built on the Karelian Isthmus. But with their own personal touch. If the logs came from Siberia (why?), the stained glass windows were French and dated from the 19th century. As for the inspiration, it always came from Visconti... "

Fiona Levis, Author of Yves Saint Laurent, l'homme couleur de temps, Editions du Rocher


Contact us:
+33 (0)2 31 14 40 00

Our tourist information offices :

Résidence de l'Horloge
Quai de l'Impératrice Eugénie
14800 Deauville
See opening hours

Place Jean Mermoz
14640 Villers-sur-Mer
See opening hours

32 bis avenue Michel d'Ornano
14910 Blonville-sur-Mer
See opening hours

40 rue du Général Leclerc
14113 Villerville
See opening hours

20 Place Lemercier
14800 Touques
See opening hours

Promenade Louis Delamare
(behind the first-aid post)
14800 Tourgéville
See opening hours