• Two hours north of Paris, this hotel with its traditional half-timbered façade has guest rooms ranging from £160 to £260.
    © Ekaterina Pokrovsky / 123RF
    Hôtel Normandy Barrière

    Two hours north of Paris, this hotel with its traditional half-timbered façade has guest rooms ranging from £160 to £260.

Amy Adejokun
Amy Adejokun Expert destination France

The seaside town of Deauville, together with its neighbour Trouvilie, just across the River Touques, is a popular resort in Calvados, Lower Normandy. The resort began to grow in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, thanks in large part to the hotelier Lucien Barrière, and is today a destination primarily for wealthy Parisians (it is the closest beach to the French capital, just a couple of hours by road). Aside from its beach, the town is famous for its annual American Film Festival, its horse racing and golf courses. While the smart and up-market Deauville is very much geared towards Parisian visitors, with many of the capital's shops having branches there, Trouville is a more laid back and less stuffy place with a more convivial atmosphere with its markets and small streets. There is perhaps not enough here to warrant a special trip across the Channel, however if you happen to be in Paris or elsewhere in Normandy or Brittany then it is certainly somewhere to come to spend a relaxing weekend by the sea, topping up your tan. In terms of hotels, the three Barrière properties dominate the scene and are by far the pick of the bunch, although there are a few other good quality bed and breakfasts among what is a generally tired and basic offering.

Deauville: what to do?

Of course the main attraction is the long sandy beach but there are plenty of other activities on offer. There are a total of four golf courses in and around Deauville-Trouville, three with both 18- and 9-hole courses and one with three 9-hole courses. If you prefer horses to clubs then head for the Deauville-La Touques Racecourse where three meetings take place throughout the year (July/August, Equi'days in October and another from December to February). Although you can of course place bets on the horse racing, you may prefer to risk your money in the town's casino on the waterfront which has a night club, shows, restaurants, bars and a cinema. Another way to fritter your money would be to indulge in a spot of shopping in the high-end boutiques of Deauville but when that gets too much take a stroll (or a seat) along Les Planches , the seafront boardwalk.

Deauville is first and foremost a resort, somewhere people go in order to relax on the beach, do a spot of shopping and perhaps go to the races. Being a purpose built resort, it's not a huge cultural destination and thus there are no specific attractions as such (museums, galleries monuments etc). The town does have some interesting architecture, notably the townhall. The Place du Marché is also worth seeing with its wooden frame as is the small marina.

  • Trouville's typical Norman architecture.
  • Quality of affordable hotels is questionable.
  • Expensive, mediocre restaurants.


There are several options for getting to Deauville. From the UK there are a few flights (literally, a handful) from Edinburgh each year. If, however, you're coming from further south in the UK then you can get a ferry to either Le Havre or Ouistreham from Portsmouth and then drive. If you're coming from Paris then you can catch a train from Gare St. Lazare which takes around 2 hours.

To avoid

During the summer months, when the weather as at its hottest and the horse-racing season is in full swing, Deauville is packed with Parisian holiday-makers and those in the equestrian business, particularly at the weekend. July and August, despite being the best months for weather, are probably the months to avoid due to this influx. While one can of course not guarantee sunshine, it's quite possible to spend a pleasant weekend in the area in April, May or June or even in September when there will be fewer tourists around and decidedly more hotel rooms. Also to avoid are the over-priced, poor quality restaurants that take advantage of tourists that know no better.

Deauville: what to eat?

You won't be surprised to hear that seafood features on most menus throughout town. You can eat freshly caught white fish, cooked simply or dig in to a big bowl of mussels, a speciality in these parts. Other Norman specialities include crêpes and cider, but you don't see too much of this. Otherwise the food is general French fare, as after all, the restaurants are trying to please a Parisian clientele who are looking for a home away from home. You could enjoy a typical afternoon tea in one of the seafront Barrière hotels, although this seems nonsensical if you're coming from England. If you're dining out, try to get recommendations as there are quite a few poor quality restaurants around and they are not cheap!

Deauville: what to buy?

Seeing as Deauville is essentially purpose-built resort, there is nothing truly traditional that can be brought back from the town. You can find various alcohols, particularly cider and calvados, from elsewhere in the region, although this has no particular rapport with Deauville-Trouville. The town does have some high-end boutiques for those that enjoy shopping so maybe you'll find some clothes or antiques that you may not be able to find at home. Apart from that the most valuable thing you'll take back to Blighty is probably your sun tan!

Deauville Reviewedhotels
  • 9.45 /10
    Rated by Easyvoyage
    Le Royal Barriere
    Deauville - France
    Hotel Hotel 5 Etoile(s)

    The Royal Barrière is a very similar product to its seafront ...

  • 9.2 /10
    Rated by Easyvoyage
    Barrière Le Normandy Deauville
    Deauville - France
    Hotel Hotel 5 Etoile(s)

    The first of the all-mighty Barrière hotels to open in Deauville ...

  • 8.95 /10
    Rated by Easyvoyage
    Hotel Du Golf Barriere
    Deauville - France
    Hotel Hotel 4 Etoile(s)

    Of the three Barrière hotels in Deauville, this one is our favourite. ...

  • 8.2 /10
    Rated by Easyvoyage
    Villa Josephine
    Deauville - France
    Hotel Hotel 3 Etoile(s)

    By a long stretch the finest bed and breakfast in the town, Villa ...

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