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The Foundation 1952

Strategically the reorganization was pursued in various fields. Everywhere, contacts were reestablished, reinforced and increased. New members came on a regular basis. Relations with our honorary members and sponsors were never neglected and we were able to publish our Concierge directory again. Relations with our foreign colleagues existed before the war; they were now back on track and extended. Gradually, all the friendly and professional links and official contacts were restored as well as the group’s activities. The association had been put to sleep during the war, but now the prestige and authority it had acquired during the ten first years of existence was back.

The important section RIVIERA (See Footnote 1) had also merged, while local delegates spread across several regions of France, we were able to gather and create new sections.

This activity could not be undertaken without lots of energy, good will and belief in this association. The President took ownership of the most important part of the workload, travelling to prospect in France as well as North Africa and many other foreign countries. Members of the Committee as well as Active Members brought their precious support by reflecting everywhere and at all times, the brightness of Les Clefs d’Or.

It is fair at this point, to pay tribute to the administration of the Hotel Scribe in Paris, on which depended Mr. Ferdinand Gillet for many years. The facilities, always granted to the President for the business of Les Clefs d’Or, provided to the Association the most eminent services. They are a good demonstration of understanding and interest in the work of the Association for the Hospitality, Tourism and the development of international clientèle.

In the association the development and consolidation of our relationship continued growing with meetings, gatherings across the country and any other opportunity of professional interest. Nevertheless the evolution was oriented towards bigger horizons. The worldwide amazing progresses created new ways of living which influenced Tourism and Hospitality conditions. Our worries to solve new problems, increasing needs, with a growing workload were constant preoccupations for the Hotel Porter. The organization has been able to rise the means to support the adaptation that was required.


Ferdinand Gillet in Eastbourne, 1950

Abroad, enthusiasts are more and more numerous. With emulation, groups are created, get organized and meet together. Reports for the President as well as from Members of the Committee traveling abroad, show how much the spirit and ideal of Les Clefs d’Or develops in a positive way. A chain of friendship, solidarity and helpfulness already united many countries (France, Germany, Denmark, United Kingdom, Italy, Switzerland, Belgium, Ireland).

The three important days in Cannes 25, 26, 27th of April 1952 rewarded for all the efforts, patience and perseverance the members had put together in order to organize this meeting. The delegates came from 9 countries: France, Germany, Denmark, United Kingdom, Italy, Switzerland, Belgium, Ireland and Spain(?) – They all gathered during the congress and decided to create L’Union Europeenne des Portiers de Grands Hotels “Les Clefs d’Or” (UEPGH Les Clefs d’Or).

The statutes were approved by all. It was decided to establish the head office in Paris at 12 rue Cambon, Ferdinand Gillet was elected President. The official consecration was sealed by the participation of Mr. Viers, Delegate of the French Board of Tourism, while the International Hospitatily Association was represented by Mr Mero. The latter put to the disposal of the Organizing Committee the Hotel Carlton ballrooms. There could not have been a better place than this wonderful spot on the Croisette to become the birthplace of our association.

Hôtel Carlton – Cannes, 1952

Mr. Jean Medecin, Mayor of Nice, Mr. Antoni, Mayor of Cannes, Mr. G. Olivier, General Superintendent of the Tourism and Information Office of Monte Carlo, as well as many other officials attended the ceremony, which made of this congress a memorable success.

“Les Clefs d’Or” became an integral part of the European Union.

Now that the association of UEPGH Les Clefs d’Or was formed, each Concierge Association has required to create and register in its own country a section under the name Les Clef d’Or (Les Clefs d’Or Suisse, Le Chiavi d’Oro, Die Goldenen Schlussel E.V. etc.) with the same statutes that had been defined during the meetings of April 1952. Once each country’s registration was completed, they were required to send an official application form for accepted by UEPGH Les Clefs d’Or (See Footnote 2)

With these enlarged basis, the association could now develop its activities, get new advantages, with increased means and a more efficient collaboration.

Each Active Member was automatically integrated in the European Union. Nevertheless the association kept its initial nature, but the growing interest it generated was very positive.

An Example of this increasing recognition was the reward given to President Gillet, The Medal of Tourism, well deserved with all the personnel investment and indefatigably efforts of our President in favor of our profession, which through him, rewarded the entire profession.

Foreign delegates really worked hard and quickly to create national sections, committees according to the statutes and spirit that had been defined in Cannes.

The European Union was going to grow as 20 years before, our national association had grown.

Vive Les Clefs d’Or,

Long live “Les Clefs d’Or”

French National Secretary, 1956 – 1977
Advisor UEPGH Les Clefs d’Or, 1964 – 1965
General Secretary UIPGH Les Clefs d’Or, 1972 – 1974

Mssr Ducarton retired in 1975 and passed away October 9, 1977

To be continued : Les Clefs d’Or (UEPGH) 1952 – 1971

Translated from French into English by Austen Spooner & Roderick Levéjac

Note 1 – Riviera: Italian word meaning shore, river.

At that time, the Riviera was the name we gave to the French Riviera stretching from Saint-Raphael to Menton along the Mediterranean, in the foothills of the Alps, comprising hotels in Saint-Raphael , Cannes, Nice, Monte Carlo, Menton.
The Riviera region was placed under the direction of M. Leon Sigaut, Regional Delegate, Concierge at the Ruhl Hotel in Nice from 1930 to 1959.


Note 2 – Admissions to UEPGH Les Clefs d’Or

Admission requests started to arrive to the head office of UEPGH Les Clefs d’Or in June 1952: United Kingdom (6th June 1952), Germany (2nd November 1952), Italy (29th November 1952), Switzerland (2nd May 1953), Belgium (10th November 1954), Denmark (1954), Austria (18th September 1954), Sweden (5th May 1956), Ireland (10th April 1960), The Netherlands (1st July 1960), Norway (3rd April 1962), Spain (3rd April 1962), Morocco (18th February 1964), Greece (24th February 1965).

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