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At 79, Yvonne watches over the Modern Hotel and its retro spirit

In Concarneau (29), entering the Hôtel Moderne is like taking a trip back in time. In the twenty or so rooms spread over three floors, the tapestries and bedding have a good taste of the 80s. The furniture has not changed in several decades, when the bathtubs have remained frozen in time for almost 70 years.

From flour mill to hotel

Whatever. When fans of ultra-contemporary decor come their way, travelers in search of authenticity will always be welcomed by the owner of the premises. Since she was 24, Yvonne Debon has worked tirelessly in this two-star establishment that previously belonged to her parents. The septuagenarian knows the history of the walls by heart, which she greedily recounts to passengers curious to learn more during their stay in the Blue City.

Admittedly, the twenty or so rooms of the establishment have had a certain history, but the cleanliness is impeccable! (The Telegram / Guirec Flécher)

From shipyard to flour mill, it was in 1937 that Yvonne Debon’s parents, originally from the region of Concarneau, bought the building located rue du Lin. The couple wanted to “make a situation for themselves, they who came from peasant families,” says the Concarnoise. “Originally, they were to turn it into a cinema, which the state refused. They therefore decided to turn it into a hotel, ”she continues.

From the start we refueled. People arrived by train, especially from big cities, tourism started to develop

The place opened in the summer of 1952, after several years of work. “It was originally called the Hôtel du Vieux Moulin, but the Michelin guide has advised against this name. They are the ones who told my mother to call it the Modern Hotel! », Smiles the current manager. The country, then at the end of the war, began to rediscover the joys of holidays by the sea. “From the start we had to fill up. People arrived by train, especially from big cities, tourism was starting to develop, ”recalls Yvonne.

At 79, Yvonne watches over the Modern Hotel and its retro spirit
Modern hotel, with or without an “e”? “It’s just that it was cheaper not to post the letter!” », Replies the owner of the premises (Le Télégramme / Guirec Flécher)

The latter joined the establishment ten years later. La Concarnoise, then a teacher in Lorient, was called to the rescue by her mother Euphrasie, who carried the family business at arm’s length. “I gave up everything to join her. Quickly, my father was no longer interested in the hotel, he preferred farming. I took care of the accounting, it was up to me to keep the finances, ”explains the owner, now 79 years old.

A living room with avant-garde decor

During the second half of the 20th century, mother and daughter gradually renovated the hotel to make it more comfortable. However, there is no question of touching the decoration which has crossed fashions and ages. The centerpiece remains the large reception room, created in 1958 by interior designer Pierre Donadio. “My mother wanted an original style that you couldn’t see anywhere,” says Yvonne. Instructions followed to the letter by the artist of Italian origin: flashy colors, Formica tables, doors and beams with unsuspected geometric shapes …

At 79, Yvonne watches over the Modern Hotel and its retro spirit
The living room was fitted out in 1958 by the artist Pierre Donadio. A piece that today arouses the curiosity of many customers (Le Télégramme / Guirec Flécher)

More than half a century later, the place treasures the testimony of this avant-garde architect. “Before, people who entered would take one step forward and then two steps back. Now they take a picture of the room. People from Quimperlé (29) even asked me if they could come and visit! Soon it will no longer be a hotel but a museum! “Laughs the hotelier.

As long as I’m healthy I’ll carry on

Since the death of her mother in 2006 at the age of 98, Yvonne Debon has taken up the torch on her own. Cleaning, work, ironing, preparation of breakfasts, reservations… The little woman does almost everything on her own. Like her father, her husband preferred to stay away from his partner’s business. Nothing to discourage Yvonne, for whom the time for retirement has not yet arrived. “As long as I’m healthy, I will continue,” she maintains. Having this hotel allows me to exercise and keep in shape ”. Only osteoarthritis now forces him to close the establishment during the winter period. One of the only concessions that the manager allows herself.

At 79, Yvonne watches over the Modern Hotel and its retro spirit
No way for Yvonne to change the decoration. ” It’s very good like that ! », Says the owner, who takes care of the accommodation of her customers from A to Z (Le Télégramme / Guirec Flécher)

It is called the Modern Hotel but it is true that it is everything… except modern!

As for the grumpy people who would dare to criticize a certain dilapidated room, beware of them: “I haven’t changed anything because I don’t want to. It’s very good like that ! “. But Yvonne confesses: “Yes, it’s old, it’s called the Modern Hotel, but it’s true that it’s everything… except modern! “.

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