Violinist and polyglot, of gypsy origin, Negresco served his apprenticeship in different European hotels as clerk and cook. Director of the Helder restaurant in Monaco in 1902, then of the municipal casino in Nice, he enchanted his rich and demanding clients with his gourmet's talents. Wanting to build on the Promenade des Anglais" the most luxurious hotel in the world ", he ensured the financing of the project with the participation of the rich businessman Alexandre Darracq. Before starting the construction of the hotel, Negresco, accompanied by architect Niermans *, visited the main international hotels to study their defects and their qualities. He defied the criticisms by choosing a site remote from the centre and situated by the sea, in a time when the seaside pleasures were little appreciated, The construction started in 1910. In December, 1912, the inauguration of the hotel which bears his name was a triumphant event. At the beginning of the war, Negresco was named an administrator of the establishment which was transformed into hospital. Almost ruined at the end of the conflict, he died prematurely from a cancer.

Roberto Gilles : Henri Negresco et le Negresco. Naissance d'un palace azuréen, Recherches Régionales, octobre-décembre 1998.

Ralph SCHOR

 

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