Paul Augier's personal history seems tightly bound to that of the Negresco Hotel he managed during more than thirty years. When he was a child, his father was already the doctor of the staff of the hotel. After his secondary school diiploma, He went to Paris to follow a brilliant higher education. He obtained a diploma in Political sciences, he also obtained a Doctorate in law and became a lawyer in the bar of Nice. In 1937/38, he was one of the founders of the project of opening an Institute of legal studies, awarding a diploma, for the students of Nice in the Centre of Mediterranean University ( CUM). To realize this project which received the agreement of the University of Aix-en-Provence and of the Minister of Education, Paul Augier used his numerous relations. He sought notably René Cassin*'s intervention. During the Second World war and the Occupation, he joined the Movement of National Liberation ( MLN). This commitment made him receive the Legion of Honour, the Croix de guerre as well as the medal of the Resistance. In September, 1945, at 33, he became the youngest elected member of the Conseil général of Alpes-Maritimes. Under the label UDSR, he belonged to the left-wing majority which dominated widely this assembly and he represented the third canton of Nice until 1951, (he was beaten by the candidate of the RPF Léon Teisseire). From 1947 till 1953, Paul Augier also sat in the City Council of Nice beside the Socialists Jacques Cotta* and Thérèse Roméo*

From the middle of the 50s, he dedicated himself first and foremost to business and began a career of manager in the hotel sector. In 1957, he became the administrator of the Negresco which had just been acquired by the financial group of his father-in-law. Thanks to a plan of modernisation, he contributed to give a new lustre to an establishment with a declining reputation. After the twinning of Nice and Yalta, Paul Augier seemed to make of his hotel the centre on the French Riviera of the policy of french-soviet friendship and of opening towards the East which the founder of the Fifth Republic demanded. So in 1964, Negresco received with all the honors Alexis Adjoubeï, the son-in-law of the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the USSR NIKITA KHROUCHTCHEV. Next year, Augier who belonged to the Gaullist sphere of influence became involved again in the politics of Nice. With Jacques Baumel, secretary of the UNR and Pierre Pasquini, delegate of the Movement since 1958, he was one of the most active elements of the campaign of general Louis Delfino*. His know-how and his relations gave him the leadership of the committee of support for the " hero of Nice " of the aviation, the candidate for the city hall of Nice and for the succession of already old Jean Médecin* whom the General’s followers dreamt to defeat.

Negresco constituted the jewel of a " hotel empire ". Paul Augier also managed very famous establishments in Paris and in the Principality of Monaco such as the Société des Bains de Mer. He was at the origin of the creation of numerous hotels in the Var, in Corsica and abroad (in Ispahan, Iran). With his professionalism and his experience, he was one of these managers who, in the 60s and the 70s, exported the French know-how in the sector of hotel business. He assured the promotion of the French tourist industry all around the world, from the United States to the USSR passing through the Arabic countries. His appointment, in 1969, to the committee of regional economic development (CODER) later called the economic and social council of the region PACA, dedicated his role of actor and foreground driving force in the economy of the French Riviera.

The new secondary school for hostelry of Nice, built in the ZAC of Arénas and inaugurated before his death, was named Paul Augier. The director of Negresco’s death on October 2, 1995 was mentionned in the first number of the review Nice Historique in 1996.

Dominique OLIVESI

 

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