As seaside resorts began to appear along the French coasts during the Second Empire, the casino gradually became a part of the landscape of the "Spa Towns". These establishments offered both reception rooms and gaming rooms, providing not only entertainment but also a fantasy far removed from health concerns.
The architect Roland Martin, born in 1876, produced this aerial perspective (date unknown) of the casino in St Jean de Luz, built in 1881. His design shows us the spirit in which these 19th century casinos were built. Their designs, as we see here, were often based on the clichéd style of the monumental and ostentatious architecture of the time: rotundas, domed turrets, halls, wide arched windows and galleries.
Unlike the public health buildings, there were no technical constraints, their only raison d’être being luxury and display, with the sea and its pleasures as a backdrop. Suddenly, this architectural style came back into fashion.
The most famous are those in Monte-Carlo, by Charles Garnier (1881) and the one in Royan, by Gaston Redon (1896, destroyed during the Second World War).