A visit to Brighton by Auguste Louis Charles, le Comte de la Garde



‘I found the air of Brighton pure and invigorating, the baths and springs salubrious, the situation of the town picturesque, its buildings elegant, its public establishments excellently conducted; in short, everything I saw, even the Gloucester Hotel, at which I put up, is deserving of praise.’

Reading like a five-star revue in a modern travel   journal, this effusive description of Brighton was actually written nearly 200 years ago, by Auguste Louis Charles, le Comte de la Garde.  

Garde was an aristocrat who survived the French Revolution and the wars that followed; he travelled across much of Europe and was an assiduous diary keeper. He knew everyone who was anyone and kept notes about them all.

In the years following the end of conflict, Garde flourished as author, poet, translator, lyricist and man of letters. In 1827, his travels brought him to Brighton.

In early-1828, Garde produced six articles about his visit, under the slightly misleading title, ‘Eight Days at Brighton – by a Foreigner of Distinction’ – he stayed far longer!

These were printed anonymously in the Athenaeum magazine, antecedent of today's New Statesman.

In 1834, these articles formed the basis of 'Vignettes of a trip to Brighton', (Brighton; scènes détachées d'un voyage en Angleterre), a detailed, insightful and often humorous account of his visit to the town. Its 400 plus pages, are packed with social gossip and intrigue, mixed with wry observations of English culture, architecture and people.