Famed for its sandy beach and art deco-style boardwalk, Deauville, France, is one of Normandy’s seaside gems. Facing the resort town of Trouville, located just across the River Touques, this elegant destination is favored by big spenders here to shop and hit up the casino. A prestigious events calendar, which features an annual American Film Festival, also draws in the elite.
Founded as a beach resort in 1861, Deauville blends half-timbered Norman buildings with belle époque-style villas built by rich and famous visitors in the early 1900s. Today, it still oozes style, welcoming well-heeled Parisians looking to get a taste of the glory enjoyed by past enthusiasts like Coco Chanel and Winston Churchill. Attractions include a vast beach and boardwalk, two racecourses, golf courses, spa hotels, marinas, and a crop of classy restaurants and boutiques.
While most travelers visit independently—Deauville makes an ideal day trip from Paris and a convenient jumping off point for visiting Normandy’s D-Day beaches—there are numerous ways to experience the resort town. Options include exploring on a private sidecar tour, enjoying horseback rides along the sandy beach, or booking organized tours around the nearby World War II sites and memorials.
Things to know before you go
- Deauville appeals to beach lovers, fashionistas, foodies, sports and history buffs, and anyone seeking a chic getaway.
- Earmark a day at least to enjoy Deauville’s attractions.
- The town’s public transport is limited; most people get around by foot, car, or by hailing a cab.
- Access to Deauville Beach is free, but there’s a fee for parasols and deck chairs.
- Cafés, bars, and public restrooms dot the beachfront.
How to get there
Deauville sits on Normandy’s Flower Coast (Côte Fleurie). From Paris, it’s about 120 miles (193 kilometers), which takes approximately two hours to drive. If you want to use public transit, trains from Paris’ Saint-Lazare station run to Trouville-Deauville station; public buses also operate between France’s capital and Deauville’s main bus station.
When to get there
Deauville exudes a party atmosphere from June to August, when average highs hit a pleasant 70°F (21°C). Restaurants and hotels fill quickly during these months and into September, when celebrities and fans arrive for the annual American Film Festival. In winter, spring, and fall, the town feels more sedate; however, there’s still plenty of entertainment, from the Casino Barrière Deauville to horse racing at the Deauville-La Touques racecourse.
Things to do on Deauville Beach
Deauville’s immaculate 1.25-mile (2-kilometer) beach is lined with neat rows of distinctive, multi-colored parasols. Be sure to walk the 1920s Les Planches wooden boardwalk, where you’ll find art deco-style beach cabins bearing the names of famous movie stars like Elizabeth Taylor and Tom Hanks.
- Trouville (Trouville-sur-Mer)
- St. Catherine’s Church (Eglise Sainte-Catherine)
- Merville Battery (Batterie de Merville)
- Pays d'Auge
- Ranville War Cemetery
- Pegasus Memorial Museum (Pegasus Bridge)
- Abbaye aux Dames
- Caen Museum of Fine Arts (Musée des Beaux-Arts de Caen)
- Normandy Museum (Musée de Normandie)
- Caen Castle (Château de Caen)
- Caen Memorial Museum (Mémorial de Caen)
- Abbaye aux Hommes
- La Colline aux Oiseaux Park (Parc de La Colline aux Oiseaux)