The automobile invents destinations

Individual mobility responds quickly to the new needs of those who become leisure consumers. Idleness still openly repressed in the early nineteenth century, which is even for the Church one of the deadly sins and contributes to debauchery, has long been practiced by the aristocracy, “the class of leisure people” according to Stendhal. The leisure takes the direction around 1870 of “time which remains available after the occupations”. Barely more than half a century later, in 1930, Marc Augé’s dictionary defines leisure (and no longer “leisure”) as “distractions, occupations that one engages voluntarily, during the time who is not caught up in ordinary work “(Corbin, 1995). In addition to the Sunday rest granted in 1906, France knows as many European and Western countries a deep desire to spread the urban lifestyle and individualization of travel. The innovations are at first rudimentary, like the motorcycle of Felix Millet in 1893 that can still be admired today at the Museum of Arts and Crafts. And it is the automobile that will allow the absolute independence of human travel, the realization of a millennial dream, the mastery of his own travel desires. The individualization of transport also finds its origin in the discovery and processing of oil to run the engines to explore. The Ford T exemplifies this ultimate access to modern behaviors, both by inventing with it the Taylorization of work in industry, but most importantly because it remains to this day the most sold car in the world (more 16 million units). She made a career in fledgling movies in the silent films of Buster Keaton and Harold Llyod. This purely American model is spreading to the whole world, and its influence is fundamental on urban organizations, including hotel broadcasting, throughout the new century.

Tourist travel benefits from the car. The manufacturers of these diabo-lique machines imagine and compete daringly to create models that adapt to transport infrastructure, including roads, still spartan. Peugeot’s grand touring car, in 1909, is a perfect example. Tires cover the wheels. Comfort – or, to be more precise, less discomfort – allows the movement of some wealthy European tourists on the roads of ancient and secular vestiges. “Our hearts are heading south,” says Sigmund Freud in his travel correspondence to his wife Martha, when the famous Viennese psychoanalyst travels by car to Italy to discover the immemorial heritage of the formerly Guelph and Ghibelline provinces, having crossed the first large Alpine passes open to traffic (Freud, 1900). It is the discovery for new social classes or new clienteles of Mediterranean pleasures. Mechanized individualization changes behavior, its speed disrupts the traditional perceptions of space, which only horses and pilgrims used to roam, then railroads rattling on the secondary lines of the 19th century.

Traveling by car in 1910 allows you to choose and explore new spaces. The new tourists, who still belong to the upper fringes of the urban bourgeoisie, do not leave if they are not certain to find, during their peregrinations, the comfort standards to which they are accustomed. They need clean hotels with bathrooms, tables of hosts with mouth-watering appetizers and little wines from countries that are not too acidic (Berto-Lavenir, 1999). And often, the bourgeois who go on vacation in the depths of sweet France, as in the gorges of the Tarn or on the high plateaux of the Massif Central discover, the “hidden charms” of small hotels (rooms without comfort, doors closing both well badly, little or badly washed sheets, rickety stools, chipped bowls, conveniences at the bottom of the garden, etc.) (Berto-Lavenir, 1999). Yet it is time to create the first international hotel brands. César Ritz, born in Upper Valais Switzerland, acquires exceptional know-how in the luxury hotel industry. Prestigious establishments open in Paris: in 1898, the “Ritz”; in 1899, “The Elysee Palace”; in 1907, “The Astoria”; in 1909, “The Majestic”, “The Crillon” and “The Carlton”; in 1910, “Lutétia” and in 1912, “The Claridge”. In the USA, Ellsworth Milton Statler, Frederick Harvey, Henry Flagler and Conrad Hilton create hotels and accommodations that will influence the entire US economy and probably global tourism during the century (Lefèvre, 2011).

The modernization of the hotel industry is imperative in the French regions, including in famous resorts, such as Eaux-Bonnes, where the Compagnie du Midi organizes a first international ski competition in 1908. We discover the practice of sliding sports and a whole bourgeoisie of the towns of the Pyrenean piedmont and the South-West, Bordeaux and Toulouse in particular, rushes into the spa. Quickly, the lack of accommodation in classic hotels appears and the Company has to invest (Bouneau, 2003). It was at this time that a change was made at the initiative of the Touring Club de France. The modernization of the hotel industry involves the adoption of “hygienic” standards and the transformation and standardization of the rooms (bed on feet to be able to clean below, paint lacquered to be washed at least once a year, etc.). ). Signs appear, the “Touring Club Room” is praised during the exhibition dedicated to the automobile and cycle at the Grand Palais in 1905. The Michelin Guide, first published in 1900 (the General Guide of France is sold in 1905 to 60,000 copies) reports them automatically. The hotel industry is also considered in the Guide as a mere extension of the technical environment, as well as garages or service stations. The goal is not elegance or comfort, but hygiene, clarity and cleanliness. The European Tourings are starting a campaign for “English-style” amenities (porcelain seat, etc.) The first two award-winning establishments are the Railway Hotel in Creil (Oise) and the Terminus Hotel in Troyes ( Dawn) (Berto-Lavenir, 1999). Professionals in the hotel industry are becoming aware of this urgency. The General Union of the hotel industry was created in 1903 with four regional representations (Lille, Boulogne, Nantes and La Bourboule). Its role is to assist its members legally, to abandon obsolete uses (such as the habit of soliciting travelers on the descent of the train). This is the first time that training in the hotel industry is discussed, with the creation of a hotel school. From 1907, the “crusade” to impose the precise norms to the hotels of deep France, that the railroad and the automobile allow now to explore. The “good hotelier” does not duplicate the grand Swiss hotel or spa palace, but meets the needs of a clientele, that of day-trippers, cyclists, car tourists, hikers on foot. These new tourists are “happy, familiar, robust and simple”. (…) an ideal architecture, with a garden in the garden (the vegetable is introduced into the diet), flowers to pick, a cellar with burgundy and Bordeaux (Berto-Lavenir, 1999).