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View from the BOARDWALK A LONG-TIME FAVOURITE DESTINATION FOR HOLIDAYMAKERS, DEAUVILLE IN NORMANDY EXUDES THE GRACE OF BYGONE TIMES AND ITS CASINO, HORSES AND PROMENADES REMAIN ENDURING ATTRACTIONS.
ith its sweeping beaches and uncluttered skies, the Channel-facing town of Deauville has attracted a roll call of famous creatives over the years. Painters Raoul Dufy and Eugène Boudin, photographer Robert Capa and others have all depicted its untamed seascapes; filmmaker Claude Lelouch wrote the script for hit romance Une Homme et une Femme after watching a woman on the beach here. Deauville’s rise to glamour began as far back as 1858, when the ambitious and well-connected businessman Duke de Morny (half-brother of
Napoleon III) created the city’s racetracks, casino and a rail link to Paris. A 653-metre-long boardwalk followed in 1923, and the gentry were soon flocking in droves to experience Deauville’s salt air and good living.
SEA CHANGE The beachfront of Deauville is wide and flat enough to allow for more than a lazy jaunt along the shore. Horseback riding and sand yachting along the water’s edge are popular, while the elegant boardwalk calls for people-watching and leisurely strolls alike.
The first racecouse, which opened in 1865, proved so popular that another followed in 1928. Deauville is now host to a year-round calendar of equestrian events, from polo to horse jumping and horseracing (photo: © Patrice Le Brice).
Colourful canvas beach huts and umbrellas dot the sands, as ambient as they are photogenic. Celebrities including Francis Ford Coppola, Chow Yun-Fat and Rita Hayworth are just a few celebrities to have their names engraved on Deauville’s sea cabins. Thanks to the city’s annual American Film Festival and Asian Film Festival, famous faces are not uncommon here. Yachties visit year-round, to participate in regattas including the international dragon-class competition among others, and to compare tinnies in the harbour’s two marinas, which can accommodate 1250 yachts combined. A new district along the port, currently under construction, is due to open in 2015 on the La Touques peninsula. Along the beach you’ll also find seawater baths, a seawater Olympic swimming pool, thalassotherapy spa, mini golf courses and much more.
CULTURED TO THE CORE Deauville’s associations with culture have left a lasting legacy, including grand 1920s architecture, a firmly entrenched equestrian scene and a swathe of options for staying and dining. The five-star Hôtel Normandy Barrière (www.lucienbarriere.com) is an ode to AngloNorman grandeur. Apart from 253 guest rooms and three courtyards overlooking the sea, the town and the casino, the hotel offers multiple pampering services, a massive garden filled with apple trees, and a golf club just 2 kilometres away. A little more low-key and modern is the country retreat of Les Manoirs de Tourgéville (www.lesmanoirsdetourgeville.com), just a few kilometres from the Deauville boardwalk. The four-star hotel has been conceived as a series of villas and a restaurant, dotted throughout its lush garden. Dining out in Deauville should mean lashings of seafood, cheeses, cream, beef and apples, and that is just what’s on offer at Le Drakkar (www.restaurant-le-drakkar.com).
Published on Jun 20, 2013
The official magazine of the French Tourist Bureau in Australia. From the grit and excitement of the Tour de France to the glamour of its ma...