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The end of an era: Madame Augier, owner of Negresco dies

Hotel Le Negresco by Kurt Bauschardt.  CC by-SA 2.0 https://www.flickr.com/photos/kurt-b/14691100598The start of 2019 saw the loss of one of Nice’s most iconic personalities. On 7 January, Madame Jeanne Augier, owner of the Negresco Hotel since 1957, passed away at the age of 96.

She was influential in bringing the city of Nice to world recognition with the grand hotel that she inherited from her father. Together with her husband, Paul Augier, they made the Negresco a luxurious palace that became a favourite with the rich and famous. Known not only for its luxury, the Negresco is also known for being unexpected and Avant-guard. Refusing repeated offers to purchase the landmark hotel, Mme Augier kept the Negresco true to her unique style, remaining one of the few high-end, independently owned hotels of the world. She once told Liberation newspaper: "I must have a hundred offers a year to buy the Negresco. It's out of the question."

Often called ‘flamboyant,’ Madame Augier’s bright hair, red lips and colourful wardrobe made her an unmistakable icon of Nice and she was revered for her fabulous taste in art and flair for surprising her guests with exceptional treats and special experiences.

An avid art collector, Madame Augier acquired an impressive collection of French art, particularly antique furniture, busts of French aristocracy and classical paintings, which famously adorne the walls the hotel. Over the decades, she amassed over 6,000 pieces spanning 500 years of French history.

Its no wonder the Negresco became a favourite for top stars and artists. From the Beatles to Salvador Dalí, to the world’s royal families, the Negresco is the place to stay when in Nice. Even Elton John featured the hotel in the music video for his song ‘I’m still standing.’

Nice has lost an icon, but Madame Augier will certainly not be forgotten.

The hotel has announced that they will hang their flags at half-staff for the remainder of January in tribute to the grand dame. In a press release, the hotel stated:

‘The Board of Directors and all the employees of Hotel Negresco are deeply saddened to inform you of the death of Jeanne Augier, President and CEO...With her husband Paul Augier, she has made Negresco an unexpected Palace, a luxurious establishment in her image, world-renowned and the last major independent hotel in France…
‘A tireless advocate for people with disabilities, people in distress and the animal cause, she has worked generously to relieve their suffering. It is in this same spirit that the Board of Directors and all the employees intend to perpetuate the creativity, the free and independent character of a great Lady who leaves the city of Nice, an emblem of the French way of life.’