Nestled on the Normandy coast, Deauville is a rare gem, combining the picturesque charm of the French countryside with the elegance and luxury of a world-renowned seaside resort. This emblematic city embodies a refined lifestyle and offers a unique experience, as much for its immaculate beach as for its select architecture and exclusive atmosphere. This internationally renowned seaside resort also embodies a rich culture and exquisite lifestyle. The American Film Festival, prestigious horse races and luxury hotels give Deauville an aura of unparalleled elegance. Let’s discover this Côte Fleurie nugget just 2h30 from Paris.
The jewel of France’s Normandy coast, Deauville beach has long been a popular destination for locals and visitors from far and wide. Thanks to the initiative of influential personalities, the town quickly gained renown for its elegant seaside style, attracting celebrities, artists and intellectuals. The beach has witnessed historic moments and cultural transformations, contributing to its timeless renown. Mythical, colorful beach cabins, elegant umbrellas and perfectly aligned deckchairs create a chic, relaxing atmosphere. Visitors can relax on the fine sand or take part in sporting activities such as beach volleyball and paddle. The famous wooden “planks” overhanging the beach allow visitors to stroll above the sand while enjoying the sea view. In addition to its golden sand and blue waters, the beach also offers a unique glimpse of Norman architecture: magnificent hotels, historic villas and traditional buildings bear witness to the town’s rich past.
A veritable icon of elegance and glamour, the boardwalk is the stretch of woodland overlooking the golden sands of Deauville beach. It’s a place steeped in history, culture and style, having welcomed generations of artists, actors and strollers in search of beauty and serenity. Inaugurated in 1923, it was designed to offer the elegant ladies of high society a place where they could stroll, while protecting their evening gowns from the effects of the sand. Since then, the place has become a symbol of a bygone era, when chic and timeless charm were the order of the day. Over the years, the promenade has remained true to its heritage, retaining its elegant allure and nostalgic ambience. It is also renowned for being the meeting place for celebrities from all over the world during the American Film Festival. Colorful beach cabins dot the boards, each bearing the name of a personality who has left their mark on Deauville’s history. Curious visitors can learn more about the city’s history and its links with the world of cinema. Every year, actors, directors and film industry personalities tread this wooden path, under the flashbulbs of photographers and the admiring gazes of cinephiles. It’s a veritable red carpet where the stars shine, creating a unique blend of Hollywood glamour and relaxing seaside atmosphere.
Deauville racecourse – La Touques
The Deauville racecourse is not only a competition venue, but also a living witness to French equestrian history. Founded in 1864, it quickly gained renown for its picturesque setting and high-quality facilities. The racecourse has preserved its period charm while adapting to modern standards, offering visitors a unique experience. The Deauville racecourse is more than just a racetrack: it’s also a place where elegance and refinement combine with sporting spirit. The grandstands offer a panoramic view of the lush green tracks, where the graceful power of the horses in full race mingles with the enthusiasm of the public. The atmosphere is electric, whether you’re a fervent racing fan or simply a fan of unforgettable moments. World-renowned group races, such as the Prix Rothschild and Prix Jacques Le Marois, take place during the August meeting, offering suspense and excitement for spectators.
The casino’s history is closely linked to that of Deauville. At the end of the 19th century, when the Duc de Morny planned to transform Deauville into a luxury seaside resort, the idea of a casino naturally emerged. Inaugurated in 1912, the casino has since undergone numerous renovations, but has always retained its Belle Époque charm and elegance. Overlooking the sea and surrounded by lush gardens, the casino is a spectacle in itself. Its grandiose architecture, inspired by the Second Empire style, features ornate facades, large windows and slender roofs. The interior, meanwhile, is an ode to luxury, with its majestic game rooms, sparkling chandeliers and refined decor. Of course, gambling is at the heart of the experience, with a variety of tables, slot machines and dedicated poker rooms. But the Casino Barrière de Deauville is more than just a gaming establishment. It is also home to the Théâtre du Casino, where numerous plays, concerts and shows are regularly staged. With its upscale bars and restaurants, it’s also a lively, convivial place. The Deauville casino is also famous for its internationally renowned poker tournaments. It has hosted numerous major events, including some World Poker Tour tournaments, attracting top players from all over the world.
Place Yves-Saint-Laurent, a tribute to the genius
The Place Yves Saint-Laurent in the heart of Deauville pays tribute to the French fashion icon. Deauville and Yves Saint-Laurent share common values: elegance, creativity and a certain idea of luxury. By naming this square in his honor, the city recognizes the immense contribution of this designer to the world of French fashion and luxury. The couturier revolutionized the world of fashion by introducing avant-garde concepts such as women’s tuxedos, transparency and luxury ready-to-wear. The Place Yves Saint-Laurent is not just a geographical space, it’s a symbol, a place of memory, reminding every visitor of the designer’s importance to French culture. It’s a reminder that fashion, far from being ephemeral, is an art that stands the test of time, leaving an indelible mark on our culture and history. Strolling through the square, you can’t help but feel a deep admiration for this couturier who, like Deauville, has brilliantly combined elegance, tradition and modernity.
Old Deauville: charm and history in the heart of the Normandy coast
With its picturesque alleyways and historic buildings, Old Deauville bears witness to the town’s rich history. Before it became the posh seaside resort it is today, Deauville was just a small fishing village. It all began in the mid-19th century, when Duke Charles Auguste Louis Joseph de Morny, half-brother of Napoleon III, decided to transform this marshy region into a luxurious destination for French high society. As you stroll through old Deauville, you’re sure to be charmed by the Belle Époque villas, mansions and Norman manor houses. These buildings reflect the region’s unique blend of architectural influences, from Neo-Norman to Gothic. The Hôtel Normandy, with its typical half-timbering and vast roofs, is a striking example of this mix. The cobbled streets of old Deauville are lined with chic boutiques, art galleries and cafés. It’s common to see artists painting the picturesque facades or lovers strolling hand in hand, letting themselves be carried away by the romantic atmosphere.
Hotel Le Normandy
In the heart of the Normandy seaside resort, majestic and imposing, stands one of France’s most emblematic hotels: the Hôtel Normandy. For over a century, this building has been a perfect blend of history, architecture and luxury. Inaugurated in 1912, the Hôtel Normandy was designed to welcome an elegant and refined clientele. A true architectural masterpiece, with its typical Norman half-timbering, slender roofs and picturesque turrets, it reflects the very essence of the regional style, while incorporating elements of the Belle Époque. The interior is a sumptuous blend of woodwork, delicate frescoes and period furnishings. Over the years, the Hôtel Normandy has retained its aura of grandeur, and this is evident in the service it offers its guests. With its luxurious suites, spa, gourmet restaurants and bar, the hotel guarantees an extraordinary experience. The staff, trained to the highest standards, ensure that every stay is unforgettable. The Hôtel Normandy is more than just a place to stay; it’s a veritable Deauville institution. Every nook and cranny, every detail, tells the story of a bygone era, of a French art de vivre.
Villa Strassburger is one of Deauville’s most emblematic residences. This magnificent building is not only an architectural testimony to the Belle Époque, but also a symbol of local history and its relationship with the equestrian world. Before it was built, the land on which it stands was occupied by the Ferme du Coteau, owned by the famous writer Gustave Flaubert. In 1907, Ralph Beaver Strassburger, a wealthy American publisher, acquired the farm and decided to build a grand residence. Inspired by Norman traditions and Belle Époque architecture, the villa was completed in 1912. Its multi-sloped roof, exposed beams and half-timbered walls are typically Norman. The villa’s interior is a blend of luxury and refinement, reflecting the period’s taste for the decorative arts. The spacious rooms and grand salons are adorned with woodwork, frescoes and marble fireplaces. The library, in particular, bears witness to Ralph Strassburger’s passion for books and the arts.
The Franciscan Sisters of Deauville
The Franciscan convent was founded at the end of the 19th century. For over 100 years, it was home to nuns dedicated to the education and care of the community. Over time, the number of nuns diminished and the building became too large for its original function. Instead of letting this magnificent building deteriorate, the town has chosen to give it a new lease of life. Transformed into a cultural space, the Franciscaines have become a place where heritage, arts, knowledge and encounters converge. There’s a media library, a museum, an auditorium, exhibition halls, a literary café and many other spaces dedicated to culture. The renovation of the building has preserved the traces of its history. Strolling through the corridors, you can still feel the monastic tranquillity of the place. Original architectural elements have been preserved, and exhibitions regularly recall the history of the convent and the life of the Franciscan nuns. But Les Franciscaines de Deauville isn’t just a tribute to the past. It’s also a resolutely forward-looking establishment. Its media library, for example, offers a vast choice of digital resources, and the auditorium hosts conferences and events on contemporary topics. Above all, it’s a place for everyone to share, learn and marvel.
American Film Festival
Every September, Deauville lights up with a cinematic glow and cultural effervescence as it plays host to the American Film Festival. First held in 1975, this prestigious event has become one of the most eagerly awaited events in the European film calendar. Bringing together personalities from the world of cinema, passionate cinephiles and international media, it offers a unique platform to celebrate and explore the richness of cinema across the Atlantic in its many facets. Like the Cannes Film Festival, this event is distinguished by its commitment to showcasing emerging films and talent, while honoring legendary directors and actors. The films selected come from a variety of backgrounds, reflecting the many faces of American society: from independent productions to blockbusters, from moving dramas to wacky comedies, the American Film Festival offers a range of genres and themes, highlighting the richness and complexity of cinematic creation in the United States. Glamour and prestige are also the order of the day, with Hollywood stars walking the red carpet and celebrities mingling with the public and media in a festive atmosphere.
Places to visit near Deauville
Trouville, a source of inspiration for artists
Just 10 minutes from Deauville, Trouville-sur-Mer, more commonly known as Trouville, is a favorite destination for sea lovers, artists and Parisians in search of a seaside getaway. Since the 19th century, this charming seaside resort has attracted visitors with its authentic atmosphere, breathtaking panoramas and rich heritage. Many painters and writers have found inspiration in Trouville. Gustave Flaubert, Alexandre Dumas and Claude Monet immortalized the beauty and unique atmosphere of this maritime city. Art galleries abound in the downtown area, showcasing both past masters and emerging talents.
Honfleur, the pearl of Calvados
Nestled at the mouth of the Seine, half an hour from Deauville, Honfleur is one of the most charming and picturesque towns in Normandy. With its half-timbered houses, narrow streets and old dock, it has inspired generations of artists and continues to attract visitors from all over the world. It’s a must for anyone visiting Calvados. The heart of Honfleur, the Old Basin, is a spectacle in itself. Lined with tall, narrow houses, this historic port is always bustling with activity, be it fishing boats, sailboats or outdoor cafés. At any time of day, the play of reflections on the water captivates spectators.
Cabourg, in the footsteps of Marcel Proust
As soon as you arrive in Cabourg, you’ll be immediately struck by the Belle Époque architecture that dominates the town. Magnificent villas, adorned with wrought-iron balconies and turrets, line the streets, recalling a time when the Parisian bourgeoisie would gather here for summer vacations. The majestic Grand Hotel, overlooking the sea, is undoubtedly the most emblematic of all, evoking images of elegant soirées and dancing until dawn. Cabourg and Marcel Proust are also inextricably linked. The writer spent many summers there, and drew inspiration from the town to create the fictional city of “Balbec” in his monumental work “In Search of Lost Time”. A walk along the beach named after him allows visitors to literally walk in Proust’s footsteps, and soak up the atmosphere that so inspired him.
Deauville is much more than just a seaside destination. It’s a place where history, culture and leisure come together harmoniously. Whether you’re drawn to horse racing, the American Film Festival or simply the natural beauty of the Normandy coast, Deauville has something to offer every visitor. Its unique blend of timeless elegance and modernity makes it a must for visitors to Normandy.
If you would like to visit Deauville, all the information you need to prepare your stay can be found on the www.indeauville.fr website.