- Deputy of Pas-de-Calais and Mayor of Le Touquet Paris-Plage, France
Le Touquet is one hundred years old!
It is with true pleasure that I write this contribution for Extravaganza, this book on Alain Godon published for an exhibition which, I know, will yet again be quite remarkable. Alain is an artist whom I value enormously. In particular, I can recall one of our meetings — it was in April 2008 at one of Alain’s exhibitions in the Faubourg St Honoré in Paris. Having passed the time of day with him on several previous occasions, I knew of his passion for Le Touquet Paris-Plage after falling in love with one of its residents in 1987. And of course, having only recently been elected, I chatted to him about our desire to return culture to a prominent position in the resort which had once been known as “Paradise of the Arts”. Alain’s enthusiasm was indisputable.
Thus it was that our partnership, or rather this collaboration, first saw light of day in July 2009 with the “Grand Prix for the Artists of Tomorrow” — or “The Alain Godon Trophy” — which in its first year welcomed over ten thousand visitors! This festival gives young talent an undreamed of opportunity to become known and recognised: a venue that is quite unique and is now one of the highlights of our year, and whose growing success proves that our confidence in this project and in Alain was well-founded.
It is also thanks to Alain that we have subsequently been able to instigate other projects with the objective of making art accessible to all; organising major exhibitions at the museum, the Chemin des Arts (which over the summer of 2011 displayed some impressive work by young artists — an exhibition which was quite original and resoundingly successful!) and, not to mention, our electric shuttle buses, which we had thought to be a little too low key but now no longer fade into the background, adorned as they are in Alain Godon’s dazzling colours…
It is a real stroke of luck for our resort and for those who are Touquettois at heart that we can count an artist such as Alain among our number. Even if after 2005 he chose to settle in London for professional reasons, I know he still needs to come back and visit Le Touquet Paris-Plage very regularly and recharge his batteries. He is always welcomed with genuine delight, not only as an artist but also as a friend who loves sharing his passion for art.
Ido, incidentally, recall that in December 2008 two hundred Touquettois travelled to New York for the opening night of his exhibition: what a wonderful testimony to the affection between the town of Le Touquet Paris-Plage and the artist, an affection that has not dimmed and that continues to flourish.
In any event, the book together with the exhibition is a magnificent gift to us from Godon, both for our centenary and for the town.