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Chalet des Oyats, Berck-sur-mer, France

In 1878, James Edouard de Rothschild (1844-1881) bought two hectares of land at Berck-sur-Mer within a couple of hundred yards of the tubercular hospital he had built in 1871.  Here he built a Swiss style chalet among the dunes facing the sea with the intention of spending the summer months there. James called it the ‘Chalet des Oyats’, oyats being a sort of gorse that grows in sand dunes.

Compared with many seaside villas, the Chalet des Oyats was relatively simple, although like others it was polychrome, and shared with them a steep-pitched roof, gables and polychrome.  It was raised above ground level on wooden legs and was surrounded by a verandah.

After James’ death, his widow Laura Thérèse (1847-1931) used it as her seaside villa.  Here she started a clinic for consumptive children. The chalet was destroyed during the Second World War.

Estates: Chalet des Oyats, Berck-sur-mer, postcards, c.1912

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Postcard, 'Berck-Plage Chalet de Madame la Baronne de Rothschild' [Chalet des Oyats, Berck-sur-mer], c.1912.