The Grand Hotel, Eastbourne
Take a trip to the hotel where Debussy completed his orchestral masterpiece La mer
‘A little English seaside town, as ridiculous as these sorts of places always are… too many draughts and too much music.’ Debussy, describing Eastbourne in 1905, was perhaps being a little peevish. Following the drama of his clandestine affair with Emma Bardac in 1904, he spent a scandal-free and blisteringly hot summer in Eastbourne’s luxurious Grand Hotel.
Despite Debussy’s gripes about drafts and seaside music it was there, accompanied by Emma, that he completed his orchestral work La mer. Indeed the charms of the English seaside retreat clearly nurture artistic sensibilities with other distinguished clients of ‘The White Palace’ including Charlie Chaplin, Winston Churchill and Elgar.
Hopefully, modern musical visitors are a touch less sniffy – with its swimming pools, saunas and health spa and with Glyndebourne nearby, they should at least have less to complain about.
Where is it? Eastbourne, Sussex
Train from London: 1 hour 30 mins
Telephone: + 44(0)1323 412345
For more: See www.grandeastbourne.com
Audio clip: Debussy: La mer – De l'aube à midi sur la mer
Orchestre National de Lyon/Jun Märkl