Whilst the thrill of a big city can be intoxicatingly fun, there’s sometimes nothing better than escaping it all. And what better place to do so than Deauville, a little slice of Hollywood in the heart of Normandy.
From the best places to stay to coastal restaurants and chic activities, here’s how to explore this French pocket of suaveness in Wordrobe style
Located at the mouth of the Touques river, Deauville is often dubbed the Parisian Rivera with its rows of immaculate parasols and beachside charm. Founded by the duc de Morny in 1860, it’s been brimming with opulent hotels, an enormous casino and a picturesque promenade since the 19th century.
Modern neighbours have since arrived in the form of famous art galleries, designer shops and even Coco Chanel’s very first fashion boutique, making it one very debonair resort.
It’s undeniably a town to see and be seen, especially during the annual American Film Festival, a late summer affair featuring over a hundred cinematic screenings from the U.S.
But there’s plenty more taking place than just bejewelled movie nights – from yachting regattas to acclaimed jazz festivals, Deauville has an event calendar so busy it could make any socialite blush.
And of course, no French getaway could be complete without the culinary highlights. Elegant patisseries, glittering bars, seafront restaurants and endless classic French cuisine – hold on to your waistlines, Deauville is a fine dining dream when it comes to cocktails, cheese and catches of the day.
Where to stay
1 For something in the centre of the action: Hotel Barrière Le Normandy Deauville
Sprawled across an entire seafront block, this archaic hotel is ideal for those seeking a stay in the very centre of town. The likes of Louis Vuitton and Longchamp are a dangerous mere footsteps away, whilst Hotel Barrière Le Normandy Deauville’s guests are that of a star-studded crowd. Winston Churchill, Prince Charles and numerous A-listers have all previously admired its Anglo-Norman design.
Filled with Belle Epoque elegance, the 271 rooms and suites offer visitors a taste of the pure French fancy with soft Toile de Jouy and pale wood half-timbering.
Many offer sea views spreading across the Channel, as well as intricate wallpaper, extravagant chandeliers and slumber-inducing beds. As well as exercise classes, there’s also an otherworldly spa and private indoor swimming pool to help you unwind.
True to its name, the in-house La Belle Epoque restaurant embodies the Golden Age with cozy mahogany armchairs, toffee-coloured seating and chandeliers galore. Normandy specials fill the menu – but there’s also a lighter wellbeing menu for those not fancying foie gras, pasta and veal. hotelsbarriere.com/en/deauville.
2 For something spaciously serene: Hôtel Barrière L’Hôtel du Golf
Retreat to this regal refuge for a dose of Barrière’s flagship opulence juxtaposed with Deauville’s verdant countryside. 170 rooms and suites offer plenty of space – as well as large windows, comfortable interiors and seriously silky fabrics.
Little touches will have you feeling at home – from a welcoming slab of Barrière’s freshly-baked banana bread to the team of ever-helpful staff at breakfast. If you’re a golf worshipper, the 27-hole course is bound to impress – whilst the Spa Diane Barrière is a haven of well-being and invigorating modern design.
Tapas and tipples can be enjoyed at The Green Bar until 10pm daily (the Champagne cocktails are especially easy to swig). When peckish, head to The Lassay for scenic views courtesy of enormous picture windows and a refined but friendly atmosphere.
On the menu, it’s French cuisine with flair – think prawns with black risotto, melt-in-the-mouth beef tartare and of course, decadent desserts galore. Save room for the flaming French crepes, set alight momentarily thanks to their heady quantity of calvados brandy. hotelsbarriere.com/en/deauville/l-hotel-du-golf
Out & About
1 Best for seafood savouring: Le Ciro’s Barrière
Get your fish fix at this old school style restaurant. Located on the Planches Boardwalk, Ciro’s is the place to be when it comes to sunsets across the Channel. Don’t miss the Bouillabaisse Royale, a signature dish filled with tender sea bass and langoustines. hotelsbarriere.com.
2 Best for confectionary coveting: Au Duc De Morny
Indulge your sweet tooth with a visit to Au Duc De Morny, a chocolate makers named after Napoleon III’s half-brother. Rows and rows of exquisite cocoa creations, wrapped with statement orange ribbon, are bound to whet your appetite. indeauville.fr/au-duc-de-morny.
3 Best for entertainment: Casino Barrière Deauville
Feeling lucky? Wile the night away with a vist to Casino Barrière Deauville, an incredible building housing a beautiful Italian theatre, three restaurants, two bars, a nightclub and over a hundred shows per year.
Try your hand at a spot of blackjack, take on the slot machines or simply in the bask in the atmosphere of one of the town’s oldest establishments. hotelsbarriere.com.
Start the adventure
How: It’s a simple two-hour journey each way from Paris-Saint-Lazare to Trouville-Deauville station.
Best time to visit: Between June and August.
Words by Sophie Ritchie