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The 19th century

The First Empire had little incidence in Port-Louis. The only Napoleonic creation was the entrance portal of the Navy hospital which had taken the place of the Recollets convent in 1795.

Maybe because of its military past nostalgia, Port-Liberté thought of taking the name of Port-Napoleon, as Pontivy did with Napoleonville. The Emperor himself suggested " that it should be called Port-Louis again" (1807)" But that only happened in 1814 on Louis XVIII's accession to the throne.

first bath
first bath - coll. part.
On the other hand, Port-Louis was twice visited by Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte: the first time in 1836 as a prisoner in the citadel, the second one in 1858 as the Emperor of the French. Monarchies, empires, republics pass by. For Port-Louis, two things really matter.

1) the birth of sea-bathing, under the impulse of Queen Marie- Amélie in 1837: with the building of a bathing establishment, a hotel, the opening of the bath gate (1847) giving access to the beach formerly called "les Grands Sables".

2) the expansion of fishing and canneries, thanks to new technical improvements due to the discovery of oil preserves and sterilization, giving an impulse to these activities which need an important workforce.

This century was also a town-planning one with the erection of the fountain Notre-Dame, the fitting-out of wash-houses and the building of the covered market on the Place du Marché (rebuilt in 1848, pulled down in 1971) the building of the small powder-magazine in 1817, but mainly with the port improvements in La Pointe and Locmalo in 1889, and the construction of a gas plant

in Locmalo 1900

But we may also deplore some useless destructions such as the razing to the ground of the Grande Porte, the Grand-Bastion, the Bastion St Pierre in 1882, the replacement of the picturesque houses included in the walls at La Pointe by the Paubert promenade, the substitution of the actual severe edifice (1860) for the XVIth century Saint Pierre chapel.

last modification : 04 08 2004