Only a two-hour train journey from the capital, the twin towns of Deauville and Trouville-sur-Mer are the perfect place for a weekend getaway from Paris. Although both have beautiful beaches, these seaside resort towns are also abundant in great restaurants, boutiques, and markets, offering plenty to do year-round.
Dubbed the 21st arrondissement, Deauville is indeed very Parisienne. There was little here before Napoleon III’s half brother, the Duc de Morny, encouraged by the growing popularity of holidaying on the seaside, transformed the area into a chic resort in 1860. Before long, its straight avenues were populated with elegant mansions and the who’s who of Parisian high society.
Take a Stroll in Deauville
The ideal place to start your day in Deauville is by walking its famous Promenade des Planches, a 1,800-meter-long boardwalk which runs along its wide beach. The section closest to town is lined with stylish Art Deco bath houses whose dividers bear the names of actors who’ve attended the town’s annual American Film Festival, held in Deauville every September since 1975. Weather, and summer crowds permitting, you can extend your stroll by relaxing on the fine white sand beaches or taking a dip in the sea.
Another Deauville highlight is its impressive collection of Victorian-era villas. A nice way to see them is by bike; your hotel might have some available for rent, or there are various rental companies in town like Atelier Lucas Cycles. Alternatively, for an even more unique way of visiting Deauville, book a tour by vintage sidecar motorcycle with Retro Tour Normandy. Their tours visit Deauville highlights, some secret places, and the city’s renowned hippodromes. They also have longer tours that explore the surrounding countryside.
Stop for Apéro
By now it’s likely apéro hour and there’s no more Deauvillian a place for this then the glamorous Le Normandy. A local institution, the grand hotel has hosted the likes of Winston Churchill and Coco Chanel. Non-guests can come for drinks at their piano bar or a gourmet meal at their Belle Époque restaurant. With chic rooms featuring hints of traditional Normand decor and exceptional sea views, the hotel is also an excellent place to stay in Deauville.
If you don’t carry on with dinner at Le Normandy, then there are several other solid dining options in Deauville. For a posh dinner, book ahead at L’Essentiel or Maximin Hellio, both of which have one Michelin star. You can enjoy a midrange-priced seafood feast at Augusto Chez Laurent, famous for its lobster. For something more laid back try Le Jardin, which has market-based cuisine, or Le Drakkar, a traditional brasserie on Deauville’s main street, perfect for people watching.
Try Your Luck
Deauville is also famous for its Barrière Casino, which is worth popping into even if you don’t plan on gambling. You’ll feel like you’ve entered a James Bond movie—especially if you’re staying at Le Normandy and take the secret passageway between the hotel and the casino.
Explore Fishing Village Trouville-sur-Mer
On Sunday, a short walk across the Pont des Belges will take you over to Trouville-sur-Mer. Much older than Deauville, the town’s fishing-village roots go back for centuries and are very much still alive today. You can see these first-hand at its renowned fish market, but you may want to start by perusing Trouville’s fabulous farmer’s market. Held on Sunday mornings (Deauville’s marché is on Saturday mornings) and featuring real farmers and artisanal producers, you could forage for picnic supplies including local Deauville or Pont l’Evêque cheeses, crisp local apples, and artisanal cider. If you haven’t stocked up at the market, you can indulge at the lively seafood stalls at the Marché aux Poissons. A fish-lovers paradise, scout out some freshly caught lobster or oysters from nearby Utah Beach.
If you’re looking for other lunch spots, there’s Les Affiches, a great bistro serving seasonal cuisine. It’s popular, so reserve in advance. Otherwise, La Table du Marché has a good-value lunch menu that uses high-quality local ingredients, Les Mouettes is a lively old-school establishment, and there are also a number of good crêperies in town. Albeit a speciality from Brittany, crêpes are usually served with cider from Normandy.
After lunch, be sure to visit Trouville’s own beautiful beach to see why the town has earned its nickname “the queen of beaches.” In summer, it’s dotted with colorful beach huts and year-round is lined with 19th-century villas and benches named after some of the well-known vacationers who favored Trouville, including Monet, Flaubert, Proust, and Napoleon III. The Emperor’s summertime residence, the Villa Montebello, is now a museum covering the history of the town (free on Sundays, but closed during lunch).
For the rest of the day, you can amble Trouville’s narrow cobbled streets. Rue des Bains, the town’s main street, is particularly lively and has some whimsical boutiques like La Quincaillerie d’Albertine, selling unique jewelry, clothing, and housewares; and Villa Gypsy, a design shop which also has a cool café with a tranquil back terrace. You can also have a nice afternoon break at Pipelettes & Co, a charming tea salon and shop. On your stroll, keep an eye out for the several street art pieces done by well-known French street artist Miss.Tic.
If you are in Trouville into the late afternoon or evening, Les Étiquettes is a lively wine bar that serves a range of planches and tapas. Or try Les Quatre Chats, a quirky bar with a restaurant across the street, known for its burgers and brunch.
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Written by Lily Heise for HiP Paris. Looking to travel? Check out Haven In for a fabulous vacation rental in Paris, France or Italy. Looking to rent long-term or buy in France or Italy? Ask us! We can connect you to our trusted providers for amazing service and rates.