Hans-Georg Tersling, a neo-classical architect
Hans-Georg Tersling was born on a modest farm outside the small Danish town of Karlebo. Initially trained as a carpenter, he attended the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen, where he studied architecture. Upon graduation, the young man travelled to France, where he met Charles Garnier, the famed architect of the Palais Garnier in Paris, who hired him to work on the construction of the Monte-Carlo Casino.
After living for a few years in Paris, Tersling made his way to the French Riviera and settled in Menton. This was a judicious choice as he quickly gained a reputation as the region’s most significant architect. His career hit a peak in the 1890s, when he divided his time between hotel projects and the construction of majestic private villas. His work charmed Eugénie de Montijo, the last Empress Consort of France, who commissioned the Villa Cyrnos and Villa Les Rochers. The architect was involved in the development of the Condamine quarter and designed the Casino Municipal (now the Palais de L’Europe). These and other works helped to define the look of Menton and the coast.
Tersling led an extravagant lifestyle commensurate with his success but, with the outbreak of World War I, commissions began to dry up. His wealthy clients deserted him, but his expenses remained considerable. Falling into debt, he was forced to sell his properties, but even this was not enough.
The great architect was ruined and died in 1920. He was buried in Menton’s Vieux-Château Cemetery, but his legacy lives on in the streets of our coastal town.