About Deauville beaches
Two hours from Paris, Deauville is a prestigious resort of worldwide renown, famed for its yachting harbour, its racecourses and its many festivals and cultural events, the biggest of which is the international American film festival, first held there in 1975. Josephine Baker, Mistinguett and Coco Chanel were among many illustrious visitors during Deauville’s heyday. Today it has lost none of its allure and still attracts the stars and the well heeled.
The colourful umbrellas on Deauville’s fine sand beach have become a landmark of the town, as has its boardwalk made of exotic wood. There are various clubs to keep children entertained throughout the day. The Centre Nautique (promenade des Planches) offers windsurfing, speed sailing, catamarans, sea kayaking, bodysurfing, kite flying and surfing. Watersports including jet-ski and sailing are also available on the Bassin de Plaisance Morny.
Beyond the beach:
Deauville is famous for its architecture – for its typical Norman half-timbered houses and its fin-de-siecle villas: the Villa Strassburger is one of several you can visit. There are also several golf clubs, including Golf Barrière Deauville (Le Mont-Canisy, Saint-Arnoult), Amirauté Golf Club in Tourgéville (5km/3 miles from Deauville) and Golf Barrière de Saint-Julien (Saint-Julien-sur-Calonne, 15km/9 miles from Deauville). Horse lovers have come to the right place too: there are two hippodromes in Deauville hosting some great derbies, and horse riding on the beach at low tide is also a popular activity. Les Circuits de Deauville (Domaine de Betteville, Pont l’Eveque), 10km (6 miles) from Deauville, is a big racing complex offering various tracks for go-karting, Formula One, quads, 4-wheel drive, prestige cars, scooters and a lot more.
There is plenty to do for kids of all ages (and their parents) in the region. Le Val des Cimes is a fun canopy rope walk for children from the age of three (Le Val de l’Air, Saint-Gatien-des-Bois). Parc de Loisirs Normandie Challenge on the lake of Pont l’Eveque (10km/6 miles from Deauville) offers all sorts of watersports and other activities for children of all ages, including windsurfing, jet-skiing, pedalos, sailing, kayaking, paint balling, tennis, mini golf, trampoline, horse and poney riding. There is also an Olympic size swimming pool in town, and cycling is popular too.
You’ll be hard pressed to find a cuter little town than Honfleur (12km/7.5 miles from Deauville), with its narrow lanes and old houses, and its celebrated harbour, immortalised by many painters, and particularly the Impressionists, who were drawn to the light of the Old Dock and the colourful sails reflected on the water. Another local spot popular with artists is Etretat (60km/37 miles from Deauville), a seaside resort most famous for its white cliffs. The place to go for spectacular sunsets over the Atlantic.
Aeroclub de Deauville, based at Deauville – Saint-Gatien airport (10km/6 miles from Deauville), offers first flights for budding pilots and various courses. Or if you’d rather take to the sea than the sky, courses are also available for those interested in learning how to skip a boat (Securimer, 33 cours des Fossés, Honfleur) (www.securimer.com). For those wanting something a bit less energetic, the Thalasso Spa Deauville (3 rue Sem) (www.thalasso-deauville.com ) offers a range of treatment and activities.