Do you want to know new places and out of the usual itineraries? We will introduce you to Deauville, a charming French seaside resort.
Situated on the Normandy coast in the north-west of France, Deauville surprises for its elegant and seductive atmosphere, reminiscent of the coastal towns of the south of the country. After all, it is no wonder that they call it the Parisian Riviera.
In fact, the relatively short distance from Paris – some 200 kilometers away – has made Deauville a sought-after destination by the upper class of the French capital since the mid-nineteenth century, as well as by members of international royalty, who appreciate its glamorous environment. The beaches, the casino, the 5-star hotels, the strong equestrian tradition and award-winning restaurants are no strangers to this fascination. But there is a charming Deauville ready to be discovered, even by those who dispense luxury and have a more modest budget for a few days of rest and leisure. And even though it is during the summer that Deauville presents itself more exuberant, it is when the summer bustle slows down that the city returns to its Norman roots, never losing its charm and its joi de vivre.
9 GREAT REASONS TO TRAVEL TO THIS FRENCH CITY
THE HISTORIC CENTER
Cozy and picturesque, the center of Deauville is a great starting point for getting to know the little town. The most emblematic buildings, such as the Town Hall, boast a traditional Norman architecture, which reminds us of children’s tales. This is due to its facades lined with wooden beams, fruit of the technique of construction called half-timber.
THE IMPOSING HOUSES
The architecture of Deauville and the region is the result of a mix of influences, from the medieval legacy to the English Tudor, with some tributes to the New Art. This is visible not only in public buildings, but also in many private homes.
The Villa Strassburger, in the past linked to the Rothschild family, now belongs to the French state and can be visited. On your tour of the city, you can still enjoy Villa La Breloque, La Grande Villa, Villa Le Cercle and Villa Les Abeilles.
Some of these buildings date back to the second half of the nineteenth century, when the Duke de Morny, long regarded as the half-brother of Napoleon III, made an effort to spread the word among the French elite. His passion for horses led him to build a hippodrome in Deauville in 1962, where important races and equestrian tournaments still take place today.
THE CHARMING BEACH
Fairly flat and extensive, with a wide sandy beach and full of colorful umbrellas. So is the inviting
Deauville beach. The long wooden walkway, known as Les Planches, invites you to enjoyable walks and it is impossible not to marvel at the changing rooms, to remind you of the starting boxes of horse racing. It is said that it was on this beach that Coco Chanel was inspired to create her iconic sailor look and it was precisely in Deauville, in 1913, that the designer opened her second store.
nd speaking of different stores, Deauville impresses by the amount of luxury brands represented there, being a modest size beach city. Hermès, Louis Vuitton, Longchamp and Ralph Laurent are some of the shops you will find in the city that many French people call the 21st arrondissement of Paris.
THE EQUESTRIAN TRADITION
As we have already mentioned, Deauville is a French Mecca for horse lovers. The equestrian imagery is present a bit throughout the city, but it is in August that the most vibrant aficionados. During this month, more than 150 races take place in the celebrated Meeting of Deauville Lucien Barriere, the most important French event related to horses.
This is a city with an interesting cultural offer, which is a factor of charm. Every year, in April, the Books Music Festival is held, which brings these two areas together in an original way. From May to October, there is always an eclectic program, from dance shows to theater, to jazz: it is the Cultural Season. But if there is event that puts Deauville in the mouths of the world is his American Film Festival. It takes place in early September and has taken to the city’s biggest names in world cinema. Their names are engraved on the partitions of the beach cabins at Deauville.
THE GASTRONOMIC PRODUCTS
The proximity of the sea and the rural environment make Normandy a fertile and generous region in
terms of cuisine. Deauville does not leave the credits of the land by the hands of others and offers delicious flavors to those who visit. Oysters and other seafood delicacies, cheeses – or we were not in France! – pancakes, waffles and other irresistible desserts are not lacking. But the great gastronomic ex-libris of the region is the famous apple brandy Calvados. In fact, it is possible to explore the various orchards and distilleries on the so-called Route du Cidre, which leads you to visit small villages and picturesque villages.
THE PROXIMITY TO TROUVILLE
Considered by locals as the older sister of Deauville, Trouville-sur-Mer, or simply Trouville, loses in
sophistication, but gains in relaxation. It was one of the first French bathing resorts. Already in century XIX the artists loved to spend here seasons to be inspired. The casino is one of the city’s attractions, as is its colorful and vibrant fishing port.
THE PROXIMITY TO LISIEUX
And to close this list of Deauville attractions, a bit of spirituality. About half an hour’s drive away is the city of Lisieux, whose most emblematic monument is the Basilica of St. Teresinha, the most visited sanctuary in France after the Sanctuary of Lourdes.
Following Joan of Arc, this is the most revered saint for French Catholics. Proclaimed Saint in 1925, St. Therese of Lisieux, or St. Therese of the Child Jesus, was a Carmelite nun who left a huge mark on the Catholic religion because of the intensity and humility with which she lived her faith.