The beach of La Baumette, where Agathos is located, is a small beach at the bottom of Agay harbor, which stretched under the old castle destroyed by the German army of occupation in May 1944.
The fashion of the holiday resort on the Provençal coast was launched by the English in Hyères and Nice in the eighteenth century, in winter, to enjoy the climate and treat tuberculosis and other real or languorous diseases. In the 19th century Cannes quickly became fashionable and the capital of the new Côte d’Azur thus named in 1887 by the writer Stephen Liégeard. He undertook a work on the description of this new coast from Hyères and the Maures, Saint-Raphael and the Esterel, Cannes and Lerins, Grasse, Antibes, Nice and the cornice to Monaco and Menton. Seeking an original title, he called it La Côte d’Azur, and the success of his book and title supplanted, in France, the word Riviera.
The seaside resort of Saint-Raphaël was launched in the 1870s by the writer, journalist and director of the Figaro, Alphonse Karr. The master loved flowers, women, boats, fishing, and brought with him the beautiful Parisian world who adored him. This is how Saint-Raphael became fashionable! He was sailing along the coast on his yacht, the “Nautilus” which was anchored in front of the castle of Agay and the beach of Baumette; His son-in-law Léon Bouyer, a painter and a photographer, told La Mer – the coast, the fishing, the boats, the poetic roadstead of Agay, the boats sheltered in the creek of Baumette, the bouillabaisse on the beach … Of Maupassant joined them with his yacht the “Bel-Ami”, and in the immortal pages of his novel On Water he painted a stop at Agay: “The harbor of Agay forms a pretty sheltered basin, By the red and upright rocks, dominated by the semaphore at the summit of the mountain, and which continues, towards the open sea, the island of Gold, so named because of its color; On the other, by a line of low rocks, and a small point near the water bearing a lighthouse to signal the entrance. In the background an inn which receives the captains of refugee ships there in heavy weather, and the fishermen in summer… “It was the farm of the castle where the farmer kept cabaret and sold to the sailors the good white wine of Agay. Maupassant leaves this coast with sadness: “From all the south coast, it is this corner that I love the most. I love him as if I were born there, as if I had grown up there, because he is wild and colorful, that the Parisian, the Englishman, the American, the man of the world and the rastaquouere Have not yet poisoned it. ”
In 1899, the poet Coulangheon, in his work La Corniche d’or, dedicated to the painter Valtat, who then lived in Agay, wrote: “Behind the point of the lighthouse and the hill where the tartanes come to shelter, Entered the harbor and dipped its disarmed bastions in its last waves, between the two strikes of the bay. On the walls of pink stone, the blue aloes and the cacti, scaffolded with a Spanish or barbaric appearance, the regular windows illuminate in the evening with multiplied flames. Shaded by rare fig trees, the immobility of the sands surrounds the facades whose western side extends the reflection on the luminous waters.
After the First World War, Americans, painters, writers, artists, intellectuals and young and wealthy heirs, launched the fashion of the summer season. The pianist Cole Porter, Gerald and Sarah Murphy, Dos Pasos, joined by Picasso, Fernand Léger, Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, Man Ray, Isadora Duncan, Misstinguett, Hemingway at Cap d’Antibes, Juan les Pins, Cannes and St Raphaël , Preach the cult of the sun and the sea baths. This is where Scott Fitzgerard places his novel, Gatsby the Magnificent.
In Agay, in the thirties, the Hotel de la Baumette in Agay, was in fashion. The Americans rubbed shoulders with André Gide, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Albert Cohen who had come on a honeymoon and where he located the end of Belle du Seigneur, And many others … bathrooms are provided on the beach for guests of the hotel, then a private beach and a bar.
The paid holidays in 1936 and the rise of tourism have definitely devoted this summer season and the sea bathing. The beach of Baumette has always been very frequented by a varied clientele. Today the Agathos residence perpetuates this almost secular tradition with its private beaches and the restaurant Agathos club.