Deauville – Normandy’s answer to The Riviera?

The howling gales and torrential rain that returned in the early hours persisted throughout the morning but, unperturbed, and having located a free Aire slap bang in the centre of Deauville ( compact and bijou with only six spaces so it’s hit and miss as to whether we get in !) , we headed down La Cote Fleurie ( the coastal road) out of Honfleur and on to Trouville and Deauville. We passed through a handful of pretty villages, with huge, well-restored villa residences adorning the tree clad hillsides. Arriving in Trouville, we noted the numerous modern holiday residences – block after block of identical apartments, all shuttered-up for the winter. Behind these, set high on the hillside, large, expensive-looking villas with awesome sea views.

trouville

A short hop over the river and we were in Deauville – famous for it’s racetrack, numerous casinos and huge holiday villas built originally for the wealthy Parisians for whom Deauville was far more accessible than St Tropez. Finding the Aire was a bit of a challenge since Tom Tom threw his toys out of the pram and refused to pick up a GPS signal yet again at a crucial point in the proceedings! Eventually we arrived and, thankfully, managed to grab a space before the world and his wife arrived. Compact and bijou is right where this place is concerned – made all the worse by the fact that the exit had been barriered due to roadworks outside so there was a lot of tricky manoevering required when anyone wanted to leave!

deauvillefreeaire

Free services, including electricity , made up for the tight squeeze to get in! We grabbed a quick lunch then headed out to explore the town. Several marinas,  packed solid with boats of all shapes and sizes, including some HUGE gin palaces, are some indication of the wealth to be found around these parts Рand the type of shops adorning the streets added credence to that belief!

deauvilleyachtharbour

Development here has, thankfully been somewhat more limited than in Trouville – here there are no high rises concrete towers, developments appear to have been limited to three storey and have all been built with lots of timber facades in true Normandy fashion. Cobbled streets add to the traditional feel and we found it to be a great little town for aimless wandering.

Deauville is also famous for it’s boardwalk “La Planche” – set alongside it’s several-kilometer-long sandy beach, it is adorned with beach clubs, bars, a 50m indoor swimming pool and several gourmet- type restaurants serving ridiculously over-priced food! Showers and individual changing huts bearing the names of celebrities who flock to Deauville’s American Film Festival – now in it’s 42nd year, apparently- really does give it a Riviera feel. We headed on to the beach – despite the sand being whipped up and exfoliating our faces! The things you do when Harley needs a good run!

skydivingatdeauvilleplage

Common sense soon prevailed and we were back on The Boardwalk seeking shelter! Walking back along the beach road, we marvelled at the design of some of the villas. Incredible architecture was de rigeur and most were well cared for – apart from one….we would love to know the history of this one ….

oncefinedeauvillevilla

In better days, it was a fine home to someone…..

Our plan for tomorrow is to start heading in a south easterly direction to take us away from the coast and more into Central France.