Monday, April 19, 2021

Day Trip to the Parisian Riviera

Trip date: December 2019

While staying in Honfleur we spent one full day exploring the seaside resort towns of Trouville and Deauville. On the way, we stopped at Villerville on the advise of our Airbnb owner. 

This tiny town with just 800 residents sits on a cliff that stretches all the way to Trouville. It's easy to park and walk out to the sea and along the wall. You'll likely be the only ones save for a few locals. Villerville was the location for the filming of the 1962 movie Un Singe en Hiver and we found multiple signs on our walk through town pointing out the various shot locations. 

As we drove closer to Trouville-sur-Mer and Deauville the size of the homes we passed increased pretty dramatically. These two cities, side by side and separated by a bridge over the channel that runs from the sea, are sometimes referred to as the Parisian Riviera. It's just about a 2 ½ train trip from Paris, so the location has attracted the rich and famous with its beaches, casinos, and horse tracks since the early 1900s.

We started in Trouville which is the more family friendly and casual of the two cities. Along the Boulevard Fernand Moureaux there is a very large fish market with an amazing selection of seafood from regions both local and across the globe. You can purchase your fresh fish to go or have the items prepared for you as almost every shop has a dining area across the walkway. 

We chose Chez Robert et Denis and had an incredible lunch of oysters, shrimps, snails, grilled lobster, and seafood bisque. It was all delicious and super fun!
After lunch we spent some time on the Trouville beach boardwalk; although it was winter there were still many people enjoying the sunshine and fresh air. There was an area for kids that had pony rides on the sand. It was fun to see the little beach changing cabins and the half-timbered hotels that offered guests stunning views of the ocean.
We wandered through the old town, doing a little window shopping along the way. I loved the old advertising posters that are still on many buildings and fences. Trouville has always been a fishing town first, and then evolved as a more affordable resort option vs. posh Deauville across the bridge. The posters advertised cheery café life, family friendly swimming, etc.

Across the bridge, the riches of Deauville are apparent immediately. Fishing vessels are replaced by yachts and sailboats while designer stores line the immaculately landscaped streets. Even the cobblestones are fancy!
We made our way to the 5-star Le Normandy Hotel, which was beautifully decked out for the holidays, and grabbed seats at Le Bar which is just off the lobby. This is where celebrities such as Winston Churchill and Coco Chanel stayed and drank while vacationing at the sea. The bar and the drinks were absolutely lovely, we may have stayed for two rounds.
There is a passageway that takes you directly to the casino through the empty back hallways of the hotel. We thought we'd go in and play for just a bit but I hadn't realized that passports were required for entry and all I had was my driver's license. Crap, pun intended. 

It was getting a bit late anyway so we took advantage of the still shining but now setting sun and walked along the Deauville boardwalk. The changing cabins here all have names of famous people who were known to vacation at the Parisian Riviera. 

We strolled by more amazing mansions on our way to the boat taxi which would shuttle us back over to Trouville and our car park. 

What a lovely day that was!

All photos of Trouville & Deauville (and Honfleur) here

**As I visited all of these places before the COVID-19 pandemic, please double check on opening hours. And fingers crossed these businesses all stay in business!**

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