Deauville – Introduction
Deauville in Normandy is often considered the 21st district of Paris due to the large number of Parisians who have their weekend home there. Driving through any town in Normandy compared to driving through Deauville is the difference between day and night; average income places versus rich incomes, and it shows.
Deauville is one of the nearest seaside places in terms of distance to Paris (together with its neighbour and less flamboyant Trouville-sur-mer), hence the popularity with the Parisians, and over the years the real estate prices of this beach resort town have grown to the levels of Paris itself. There are more expensive sports cars and luxury SUVs per square meter here than anywhere else in Normandy, in fact more than anywhere combined in Normandy. In the USA you’d compare it to the Hamptons.
Shopping in Deauville requires almost enormous bank account balances and unlimited Black American Express cards; every luxury brand doing business in France, from Hermes to Dior to Louis Vuitton has at least one shop here.
Of course window shopping is free … for the time being. The houses in Deauville are amazing, as you would expect. Well maintained, clean and grandiose. Even new buildings are done up in the same ‘old’ style.
At times it’s difficult to distinguish old from new.
The houses are discrete from the outside, but well constructed and always properly maintained.
But when you travel there, apart from during August and some weekends, you will find most houses closed and boarded up. Remember, the vast majority of these houses are weekend homes for the Parisians, and despite taking only between 2 and 3 hours driving from Paris, the Parisians come here infrequently.
You’ll also find houses and their private marina, with a few yachts moored alongside the houses. These you’ll find at the end of the beach broadwalk.
But apart from being the most expensive part of Normandy (probably even France), Deauville is famous for two other things; its sandy beaches and its American Movies Film Festival:
The long and wide sandy beaches draw a lot of tourists during the summer months, while the Deauville American Film Festival draws many famous American movie stars in September.
The promenade with its many changing room has its own version of the Hollywood Walk of Fame sidewalks: here, all the changing rooms are named after famous movie stars.
And yes, in most cases when a changing cabin gets named after a movie star, the star in question is there to cut the ribbon.
Of course that is only the visible part on the promenade. When you go inside, into the inner portion of the changing rooms, it’s a whole other story and it’s not that nice looking or maintained.
On the beach there is a very big, underground, conference centre.
Stretched out, the Deauville Palais des Congres is used almost weekly, hosting large and international conferences and exhibitions, like the World Women’s Forum and of course the American Film Festival.
On the beach you will also find a big olympic-sized open-air and inside swimming pool.
As you would expect from a upmarket town that sees some of the biggest film stars, there is a very good luxury hotel offer. The most famous hotel is also one of the hotels that merits a visit, even if it’s just for tea:
The hotel Normandy is famous, you might have seen it in a movie or two (currently it is closed until April 2016 for renovations). Built in 1912, it was used as location for many movies such as Agatha Christie’s Poirot series.
A block or two on the same avenue on the seafront, there is another majestic hotel, the Royal.
In between the two hotel, belonging to the same company you will find a very big casino (belonging to the same company as the hotels):
The casino is one of the bigger ones in France, spread out of several levels and rooms.
TIP: If you are going to the casino, like any one in France, be sure to bring a valid id (like a passport).
Deauville is the Northern playing ground for the rich French (in the South it’s the Cote d’Azur). It’s not a touristy town, but it is very pretty and well maintained. You can spend a few hours strolling along the streets looking at the Ferraris and Porsches, the fabulously dressed women and the beautifully restored houses.
NOTE: If you arrive at Deauville by car, expect it to be like driving in Paris; a lot of traffic jams and bad moods.
- Transport Getting There Via train. There is a train link between Paris and the shared railway station of Trouville-sur-Mer and Deauville. There are several daily direct (and ones where you need to change) trains. Fastest time is 2 hours. Via Ferry: Closest ferry harbours from the UK are Ouistreham (Caen)…
- Trouville-sur-Mer, Lower Normandy, suffers from a perceived lack of glamour because of its more famous neighbour, Deauville (known for its casino, conference centre and international star-studded film festival). But they have nothing to be ashamed of. Big and long white sandy beaches, beautiful mansions, great restaurants and also a big casino,…
- Following Normandy's best kept secret (Veules-Les-Roses), here's the least best kept one; Honfleur. Honfleur is one of the prime tourist destinations in Normandy, second only to the Mont St. Michel. It's not only popular with the foreign tourists but also with local French ones. Day trippers from Paris, even from within…
- Located in the midst of the Calvados region (Normandy) you will find a pretty castle, the Chateau du Breuil, that has been since 1954 a distillery that transforms apples into Calvados (an apple brandy). Located in a 1000 people village, Le Breuil-en-Auge, the castle lies on the road leading to Lisieux.…