Jean-Max Gonsseaume – Berck Sur Mer

One of life’s true characters!
Jean-Max Gonsseaume is one of Berck’s most charismatic characters. Full of life and “Berckois” through and through, he knows the entire history of this seaside resort that he loves so dearly. This former youth worker quickly took a keen interest in Berck’s past. A member of the town council for twenty years, his specialist area was town planning.

“It was while doing this that I uncovered the wealth of our architectural heritage. I also love the area’s religious monuments, such as wayside crosses, statues and chapels, to which little attention is rarely paid.” He will tell you that the person who tried to saw off the wayside cross on the Chemin des Anglais lost his arm on a stormy day a few months later. He will also let you into the secret of the identity of Marianne Toute Seule, after whom an avenue near the sea is named.

Over time Jean-Max has indexed eighty religious monuments in and around Berck and researched their history. “You pass by them without seeing them!” A book was the logical next step, then a hiking route. Not forgetting the town’s villas, which Jean-Max has also photographed. He then focused on the history of local hospitals, street names and, finally, the cemetery. “I looked closely at all the symbols displayed there: the pine cones, angels, wrought-iron torches etc. Two years ago I had no idea that any of these things existed!”

Curious about anything and everything, and full of energy, Jean-Max isn’t shy about going up and talking to people he finds interesting. A great fan of sand yachting, his fascinating visits can also provide an insight into this exhilarating sport.

Area Canche-Authie
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