Hospitality, or the meeting of the sedentary and the nomad

The history of hospitality is old. It probably goes back to the first forms of sedentary life, between 12,500 and 7,500 BC, when small human communities begin to group together in permanent villages in the Middle East, then in northern China, in the Andean Cordillera or in the Sahara (Coppens, 2001). A sedentary lifestyle becomes the dominant way of life. In a few millennia, the Earth – that only God, thought long, could know since it was the creator – turns out to be a round and finite planet, revolving around itself, to regions that end all to be known and explored. Technological innovations allow long mobility to change scales. Nomads and perilous, they become distant and brief, regular and secure. From the first nomadic men sheltering dangers in caves or natural shelters to the few seconds of research on the internet that allow our contemporaries to visit at a fast speed the Beijing Imperial Palace, the pyramids of Egypt or even the skyscrapers of Manhattan, then to search on a mobile application the various hotels or the rooms of host near, our history testifies to the long and irresistible evolutions and rare but radical periods of breaks. These major technological innovations are generally accompanied by great movements of thoughts – even revolutions – which upset all lifestyles. The notion of human progress refers to both the conditions of individual and daily existence (food, clothing, habitat) and the normative characteristics of all civilizations (social, economic, technical, political, cultural).

The human race, however dissimilar in its origins or aspirations, captures some of these innovations and seals communities of practice. Human mobilities and the conditions of reception of the other, of the host, of the stranger, are the most symbolic and the most durable, because they are part of the customs. Even they end up distinguishing the great lifestyles and social classes. Carriages, carts, saddles, shoes, sledges, rafts, vessels … The list could be long means of transport that serve to discover the world. The first trips to the other side of the world are made on boats. We travel, we discover, we live with the indigenous populations. On the way back, this is an opportunity to tell what we have seen, and for some to narrate a world that could only exist in a dream. Marco Polo seems to re-invent, for example, the island of Madeigascar, by dictating his memoirs in 1298. We also come back enriched by these discoveries of other cultures and languages ​​(Attali, 2003). Some return from their travels laden with spices. The tulip comes from Turkey in the 17th century and makes the fortune of their first importers in Holland. This will be the occasion of one of the first speculations of an economy in the process of globalization. The journey can enrich even those who do not leave.

While the first young English aristocrats used to fill their Humanities on the remains of Greece and Italy, and regularly rising in his Palace of Versailles, Louis XIV looks on Coronelli’s globes the advance of the fleet Royal Palace, an edict of the Sun King fixed, in March 1693, the conditions so that “no person can hold hotel, lodging in furnished room, treat, give to eat and drink in tavern or otherwise, in our city, suburbs and suburbs from Paris, or in all the cities, towns, roads, highways, and places of our obedience, without having taken our letters of permission, signed by one of our friendly and faithful secretaries, and sealed with our great seal. ” . A fine is even fixed for any offender, “three hundred pounds fine, half of which will belong to the whistleblower, and the other half to the one who will be responsible for the recovery of the finance that will come from said letters of permission” (Lefèvre, 2011).

The customary hospitality is established with the launch of the first seaside resorts. It is the end of the 18th century and the creation is British. While the Revolution rustles in France, tourism is born and invents the hotel immediately (Boyer, 1999). From the beginning of modern times, the gentry folded on its lands where it is bored, joined by the aristocracy after the Revolution of the mid-seventeenth century, imagine recreational activities: rural sports, travel – the big Tour on the mainland develops after the Treaty of Ryswick in 1697 – and the resort in Bath. The tradition of fleeing boredom, from which leisure springs, is very old. France, where court society occupies the nobility, escapes this early evolution (Corbin, 1995). Bath, listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1987, is the first historical reference. This testifies to the “desire for the shore”, a change in the perception of the coastlines that have always or almost always been considered as places of the Flood, pestilence and insalubrity (Corbin, 1988). The shore is long not frequentable. The English aristocrats first launched the fashion of retirement in the countryside from 1640-1660. It is by hygienist will that the seaside is invented to cure men of the melancholy and evils of the city. Even the cold therapeutic bath (from 30 to 40 baths in a water of 12 to 14 degrees) is codified. Different bathing suits are planned (big dresses then trousers with the bathing cap, etc.). Then it is the aesthetic pleasure that makes one aware of the picturesque seaman on the Atlantic shores. The actors of the Grand Tour return to the British Isles because of continental conflict, between 1792 and 1815, the English aristocracy launched the Brighton station, where we see the Windsor in the 1770s and where the Prince of Wales plays cricket and bathes as early as 1787. Real estate operations begin in 1806 with the development of the Steyne Parkway; in 1833, the sea front extended for three miles (Corbin, 1988). In France, Nice and Hyères are invented by English people who choose to spend long winters there. Napo-Leon I bathed in Biarritz in June 1808. Then “the attraction of the glaciers” begins to express itself, Chamonix and Grindelwald become places of purely summer stays. Tourism is born seasonal, it is in a sense “its original sin …” (Boyer, 2005).