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Circuits of tourist automobiles in Algeria in the 20th century: find hotel rooms and guide editions

The first touristic automobile circuit in Algeria dated 1839. The duc d’Orléans, visit the province of Constantine. In the past, this is a military expedition. But these are the artists who are in the exclusive mode. Algeria is the travel mode in this mode. Crevains and peintres viennent s’y sourcer and beaucoup trouver l’inspiration. Dès 1832, Delacroix s’extasiait: «(…) il y a là, for a moment, a fascinant and d’étrange bonheur. It's beautiful!


In the year 1900, Algeria is a class of prime tourist destinations in French metropolis and other places: Britanniques (à Biskra), Belges, Suisses, Allemands, Scandinaves and Nord-Américains. Colonial administration and social privileges that were very touristic and created by initial syndications - in 1897 -, in national parks - in 1923, before the metropolis -, camping terrain on the American model, automobile circuits in the country, Specialized excursions in the chasse and spéléologie, automobile raids and air raids in Sahara, sports d'hiver stations, and an international propagandist office.


Here, the tourist infrastructures are part of the Algerian market: modernization of ports and ferry chemins (about 5,000 kms since 1900), construction of hotel equipment, modern roads and pistes, automobile garages, etc. dépôts d'essence, puis d'aérodromes et de pistes d'aviation. Since the beginning of the year a contribution to the development of the premier tourism sector (1890-1910), the automobile and its rapid diffusion began in the 1900s - rallyes, raids and cruise promotions - a success in the development of the 1920s. The people administratifs of this fait culture and social community could have been in 1914 in a precis and original frame. In 1887, the Algerian Comité was created in Algeria. Sa mission: organizer of tourism in “Nouvelle-France” in the summer of the moons of the year. It helps local syndicators that appear in large outdoor areas. This comité d’hivernage was transformed in 1897 into an initial syndicate. He s’installed at his hotel in Ville d’Alger. He proposes notation of excursions in automobiles at the price of accommodation, with guides and hotels, from all colony pittories and visits to ancient places: Cherchel, Djemila/Cuicil, Hippone/Annaba, Lambèse, Tébessa, Timgad, Tipasa. April and May, he organizes propagandized caravans that occupy the colony.


Various infrastructures are available: rooms, auberges and luxury hotels, structures or facilities on most visited sites and villas. In the year 1914, the voyage to Algeria was presented as a completely complicated one, with a reason for the absence of the highest transport efficiency on the site. From 1911 to 1919, his successor son, Charles Lutaud, wanted to engage; This diplomate clearly encourages transport: construction of ferry lignes and routes for automobiles. The next door to the colony and the place where it belongs to the city of ferment.



The grand Alger-Casablanca route was in October 1920. It was owned by Constantine, by Bougie, and in Tunis.

Years 1920 marked the beginning of the aristocrat's tourism policy. Although activities such as the chasse, spéléologie, and sports activities are redonnent vitality during travel. Plus, the old days are original tourism cells and pionnier: the voyage to Sahara. Reserve an elite list and other adventurers in all genres, the first excursions in the desert where there are possible rendezvous from the actions conjugated by the military and industries.

April 1918, the project of a liaison sûre and rapide into the metropole and the African Équatorial séduit coloniaux and industries. This strategy aims to provide a favorable environment for military and scientific research. For beaucoup, the car, transport quickly and without great danger, it is more convenient and abordable to the Sahara travel.

In 1920, the number of automobiles in Algeria was estimated at 10,000; It is more expensive, it is valued at 60,000, so it is a vehicle for 100 residents. The population of the colonie is 700,000 French, 200,000 immigrants and 5.1 million autochthones. These Voitures are unique to Europe; This proportion is most important: a car for 15 residents!

The Sahara travel is a tent for hard explorers with no traces of light in the memories. The automobile revolution va modifier the donne.

In 1922-1923, the Citroën auto raid – mission Hardt-Audoin-Dubreuil – had to go to Algeria in Bourem on Niger, and began 22 hours ago, without incident. This expiration will be in Tombouctou and return to the next month. In January 1924, the famed raid on six of Jumelées Renault, or a mission called “Gradis”, 2,000 kilometers long, began six days ago; This raid occurred in November 1924. The automobile constructor André Citroën and industrial explorer Georges Marie Haardt had a large apartment on the Croisette Noire (1924-1925).

The raids of Citroën and Renault are passionate about the large public, and the Sahara is in French. The car is part of the tourism expansion in the hostile countries that are nearby. The first editions of automobile manuals that are successful.


S.V.H.N.A. (SOCIÉTÉ DES VOYAGES ET HOTELS NORD-AFRICAINS filiale de la Cie générale transatlantique -lire notre article-)


In Algeria and in Biskra, you will find luxury hotels to accommodate this fortune client. The Maritime companies are very happy with the rapid opportunity to offer the travel packages in the main travel routes, including transport reservations (bateaux, trains, cars, cars and small chairs) and other high-quality transportation services. années 1880. The générale transatlantique (ou Transat) Compagnie, which is assisted by the liaisons entering the metropole and the Maghreb colonies, is located in the mat.

On this innovation's principle: to improve the transportation (part time and next time) and the truck; Reunir sous une seule et même direction deux éléments de la vie touristique jusque-là parés, parfois antagonistes, le Beau Voyage et le bon gîte. Conqueror policy of new pays, this is the longest of the route and the rail. The tourist attraction, the most suitable place for the hotel, the bungalow, the garden, the casket, and other visitors have the opportunity to visit these places that are comfortable with the most beautiful travel journey.

The client's visit is available in English or America. After reading the tabloids for all the luxury needs, the Transat left the Société of Voyages and the Hotels of North Africa in 1925.


The General Transatlantique Compagnie is a very reliable option in the North African tourism domain. In 1919, President of the Compagnie John Dal Piaz became the founder of the premier Auto-Circuits Nord-Africains. An initiative created by the Société des Voyages et Hôtels Nord-Africains (SVHNA) in 1925.



This innovative tourist project also seeks to develop the exploitation of the Transat lignes in North Africa, without the possibility of parking in automobile territoires in Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia. In 1928, the Société des Voyages et Hotels Nord-Africains comptabilises 44 hotels, 1,400 rooms and 285 rooms with more than a million kilometres!



Tourists drive south and the first Highway Code on Saharan roads must be promulgated in 1924. The automobile tames the Sahara and its tracks. The first regular services were then organized. In 1923, Gaston Gradis founded the Compagnie Générale Trans-Saharan (CGT). From 1924 to 1926, the CGT demarcated the direct Reggane to Gao road, which avoided crossing any rugged region or soft sand ergs.

In 1926, the road was equipped along its entire length. The following year, the CGT organized the first regular trans-Saharan automobile service on the Colomb-Béchar -Reggan-Gao route.

In the summer of 1926, an agreement was concluded between the Compagnie Générale Transatlantique and the Compagnie du PLM, represented in Algeria by the Catelan house, with the support of the General Government of Algeria. It is a question of organizing tourism in the Sahara “economically”. From now on, Compagnie Générale Transatlantique offers its customers the first tourist circuits in Western Grand-Erg, on six Renault wheels, organized and led by military personnel and airplane pilots like Max de Lafargue.

Very comfortable Saharan hotels and relays are located from Beni-Abbès to El-Oued, via Timimoun, El-Goléa, Ghardaïa, Ouargla and Touggourt. Simultaneously, in Touggourt, the Deviq company set up an automobile penetration organization in 1925 towards Flatters, Polignac and Djanet using Berliet trucks. Finally, the Military Engineering deploys a whole network of well-marked and sometimes asphalted tracks towards the main penetration routes of Hoggar, Aïr and Ajjers. In the implementation of a first tourist offer in the Sahara, the military plays a strategic role, particularly in terms of securing entry routes and vacation spots.

In August 1927, the Society of Friends of the Sahara was founded, domiciled at the General Secretariat of the General Government of Algeria, at the Directorate of the Southern Territories, in Algiers. It grants its members who travel to the Sahara and Sudan privileges and reductions on transport and hotel prices. You join by paying an annual contribution. Saharan tourism experienced its first crowning moment with the celebrations of the centenary of Algeria in 1930. The governor general of Algeria, Pierre Bordes (1870-1943), who succeeded governor Maurice Viollette (1870-1960) in 1927, encourages all initiatives to increase the popularity of tourism in Algeria, in particular it redoubles its attention to promote its take-off in the Sahara.

Later, in 1933, under the leadership of the aviator and business manager Georges Etienne (1896-1969) and Captain Wauthier (great aviator), the Algerian Society of Tropical Transport (SATT) was founded. It is equipped with Renault vehicles for travelers and large trucks for goods and troop transports. Shortly after, it was assisted by aircraft for tourism and business13. SATT will exploit the Sahara to the banks of the Niger, from Colomb Béchar to Gao, via Reggane and Tabankor. Then from Gao, the company tried to reach Fort-Lamy by building a powerful launch, transporting the cars on Lake Chad.

It is the longest line in the world.

During this time the first tourist guides on the subject were published. In 1923, General Bonneval signed a notice on Saharan tourism. Since 1914, the Touring-Club de France has published tourist brochures, brochures and books on oases and published monographs on Touggourt and Laghouat.



The Hachette and Dunlop guides present the trip to the Sahara in detail. In 1927, the Méharist officer and ethnologist writer Léon Lehuraux signed the first guide worthy of the name – the Algerian Sahara – which presents the main discovery routes. But it was in 1931 that the Geographical, Maritime and Colonial Publishing Company published the first real practical tourist guide to the Sahara, under the direction of General Meynier, director of the Southern Territories, and Captain Nabal, head of the Business Department. military natives. In the early 1930s, “the tire triumphed over the desert.” The Sahara has become “the land of choice for automobile and air tourism”. This adventure tourism reached its peak after 1945 with the first oasis circuit in 1947 and the first Hoggar hiking-camping in 1948. More than 3,000 travelers took part between 1948 and 1960. The famous Saharan trails and roads, developed in initially for intrepid travelers, will play a role as strategic as economic and military from the 1950s.


Some key dates


In 1918, the idea of creating “North African Auto-Circuits” was born.

In 1919-1920 the Transatlantique hotels and the Auto-Circuits were created.

In 1925, creation of the Société des Voyages et Hôtels Nord-Africains.

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