Having spent five days in Deauville-Trouville, I’ve got some suggestions for you if you are going to head there:
- Les Plages – You absolutely can’t miss spending time on the beaches. Even though the personalities of the two towns are very different, neither would exist without their broad expanses of beach, easily traversed on miles of boardwalk. I can only imagine how packed these beaches get in July and August, but I had them almost to myself. On the Deauville side, the Planches, as the boardwalk is known, is also bordered by bathing cabins bearing the names of stars who have participated in the Deauville film festival.
- Exposition de Jacques Émile Blanche – Throughout Normandy this summer, you’ll find museums large and small that are participating in exhibits featuring the Impressionists. This is the third such festival and this year the theme is portraits. Deauville’s tiny museum, Le Point de Vue, is hosting an exhibit about Jacques Émile Blanche. He was the son of an influential psychiatrist (known at the time as an aliéniste) who came in contact with many of the greatest poets, musicians, and artists of the time. He painted the portrait of a young Proust that is probably his best known representation. It’s a small exhibit, but well presented, with photos and pieces of music to accompany the pictures. I particularly like the painting of Cocteau who was painted in the artist’s studio, while the background and other figure were added later. The exhibit is on until September 18, 2016.
- Le Bac – Deauville and Trouville are separated by the Touques river. If you are near the beaches, you have to walk to the other end of town to get from one town to the other – about a twenty-minute detour. Le Bac is a small boat that shuttles pedestrians from one side to the other for 1.20 €. It takes about two minutes and it’s fun – especially if you’ve been walking all day and your feet can go no further. There’s also a walkway that’s accessible only when the tide is fully out, but I was never there at the right moment (it costs .50€). C’est la vie.
- Musée Villa Montebello, Trouville – This is a small museum, perched above the plage de Trouville in a former grand summer villa. The permanent collection on the second floor shows Trouville’s history as both a fishing center and a beach resort. The main floor houses temporary exhibits. Until September 18, it’s dedicated to photographer Robert Demachy, a pioneer in the field who lived not far away. He was a real artist in the darkroom; his pictures make a fascinating study for their artistic and technical merits.
- As for my hotel, I liked it, but I cannot recommend it without some qualifiers. I stayed at the Fer à cheval (11 rue Victor Hugo). First the positives: the location near all the restaurants, shops, and beaches simply could not be better. The hotel is small and family run, so the people at the desk are genuinely interested in your comfort. The breakfast was a little expensive (12.50€), but the quality of the offerings were really great, particularly the rhubarb-strawberry jam. My bed had lovely, high quality linens. For the negatives, my room was really small, even by European standards. Since I was there for five nights, it felt a little claustrophobic. Consider upgrading to a suite if you plan to stay there. The internet was very weak. I could receive and open e-mails, but I could not send replies. Things like watching Netflix, looking at Pinterest or Instagram were quite impossible. If social media is a big part of your life, you might find this frustrating.