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Donville-les-Bains (Municipality, Manche, France)

Last modified: 2014-04-25 by ivan sache
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[Flag of Donville-les-Bains]

Flag of Donville-les-Bains - Image by Olivier Touzeau, 9 September 2013

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Presentation of Donville-les-Bains

The municipality of Donville-les-Bains (3,242 inhabitants in 2010; 275 ha; municipal website) is located on the Channel, just north of Granville (Normandy).

Donville probably emerged around a monastery, of which a few remains have been found near the today's parish church. Joan, a descendant of William Long-Sword, 2nd Duke of Normandy, was Dame of Donville, Granville and Saint-Pair. In the 13th century, the White Nuns of the Mortain abbey owned the church of Donville and seven fisheries. Donville remained for long a small fisher's village; quartz and clay extraction, as well as brick production, were additional sources of income for the villagers.
Donville increased in significance at the end of the 19th century when sea bathing emerged as a classy leisure. Due to its sandy shore of 3 km in length, the municipality was officially renamed Donville-les-Bains in 1907 and granted the title of sea resort (station balnéaire) in 1962.

Donville has some fame among astronomers thanks to Lucien Rudaux (1874-1947), who established an observatory in the Donville family house.
Quoting the website of the International Association of Astronomical Artists:

Lucien Rudaux was, first and foremost, an astronomer and became director of the observatory at Donville, Normandy. He also wrote and illustrated his own books, such as the sought-after classic Sur les autres mondes [1937]. Through his telescope, he observed the "limb" of the Moon, where its battered surface is seen in profile against the black sky. While other artists showed lunar mountains as being steep, jagged peaks, Rudaux painted them as rounded and eroded - not by the elements but by eons of impacts by meteorites, extremes of temperature and electrostatic levitation of the dust. His paintings often resemble Apollo photographs, yet they were produced far before anyone ever went to the Moon. A crater on Mars has been named after him.

Lucien Rudaux was the son of Edmond Rudeaux (1840-1908), a noted painter who illustrated books by Gustave Flaubert, Émile Zola, George Sand (La mare au diable) and Pierre Loti (Pêcheur d'Islande).

Ivan Sache, 9 September 2013

Flag of Donville-les-Bains

The flag of Donville-les-Bains is white with the municipal logo in the middle.

Olivier Touzeau, 9 September 2013