Let’s Do Deauville, Darling! - The Gloss Magazine

Let’s Do Deauville, Darling!

Glamorous boutiques, chic restaurants and stunning sunsets… A trip to Deauville is the perfect escape for a long weekend that combines beach and city break. Base yourself in Paris for an overnight stay before driving just two hours to the coast, where this pretty seaside town awaits …

Chanel’s recent AW24 show took place in Deauville, making a nostalgic return to where Coco Chanel first launched her brand in 1920. The upmarket seaside town inspired her sartorial dreams which she reflected in her use of nautical sailor stripes and reinterpretation of mens’ boating jackets, and chic wide-legged trousers.

The town was also the setting for Claude Lelouch’s 1966 film Une homme et une femme. Cleverly, former Chanel creative director Virginie Viard screened an arty reinterpretation of this film starring Penélope Cruz and Brad Pitt before her AW24 show, which was cinematic and sentimental.

Big floppy hats, 1920s-style blouses and belted cardigans were to the fore, while the colour palette reflected the changing hues of Deauville’s sky, which inspired many of the Impressionist artists. I love this very wearable collection (and covet a pink Chanel 2.55), but more than this it reignited my fascination with Deauville, which is to Normandy what Biarritz is to the Pays Basque region.

Deauville emerged as a tourist destination in the 1860s. It was developed by the prescient Dr Joseph Olliffe and architect Desle-François Breney; both were inspired by Baron Haussmann’s redevelopment of Paris. During the Belle Epoque era grand hotels, built in the Anglo-Norman timber-framed style, were joined by Deauville’s iconic Art Deco bathing facilities and wooden boardwalk, called Les Planches.

Since the outset, Deauville always been a glossy spot, and has an established social calendar of horse racing, polo and golf tournaments. Now, there is even more to entice tourists. The historic Presqu’île de la Touques area beside the marina has undergone an exciting redevelopment, while Les Franciscaines museum is Deauville’s newest cultural hub. As its name suggests, this building was once home to the Franciscan order of nuns and has been entirely restored to house a museum, auditorium and media library as well as works by André Hambourg, who donated over 500 paintings to the town. The building hosts interesting exhibitions, art workshops, the annual Planche(s) Contact photography festival and, in August, a classical music festival. www.lesfranciscaines.fr.

For gourmet travellers, Deauville also boasts a couple of Michelin-starred restaurants including L’Essentiel, where chefs Mi-Ra and Charles Thuillant marry traditional French cuisine and Asian flavours; www.lessentieldeauville.com. At Maximin Hellio, chef Maximin Hellio’s menu is dedicated to fresh, seasonal produce; www.maximinhellio.fr.

If you’re a cinema buff, there’s also the Deauville American Film Festival which rolls out the red carpet each September, from 6-15; www.festival-deauville.com. For spa enthusiasts, pampering is guaranteed at the Algotherm Thalasso Centre or the Esprit de Spa by M, where you can enjoy a massage or some sea water therapy.

The Pompeiian baths and Art Deco changing cabins on Deauville’s seafront are well worth visiting too. The glorious, wide sandy beach, peppered with colourful parasols and backed by its famous beach huts, remains a joy. It’s easy to see why Coco Chanel was invigorated by the location. As a homage to its importance in the Chanel story, there’s even a scent named after the town.

If all of this sounds tempting, book a stay at one of these chic boltholes in Deauville…

Where to stay:

Hôtel Barrière Le Normandy

With its Anglo-Norman and Belle Epoque style, Hôtel Barrière Le Normandy has contributed to the seaside resort’s reputation since its opening in 1912 and has hosted le tout monde from celebrities to golfers, and high rollers in casino circles. Its reception areas are decorated with photos of stars and polo champions who have made it their base from which to explore the area. Visit Trouville with its old-fashioned charm, Honfleur and its traditional fishing harbour, the Pays d’Auge countryside and the D-Day beaches, which are only one hour away. Outside, the hotel has unobstructed views of the coastline from Le Havre in the east to Ouistreham in the west, and is literally on the Planches boardwalk. Inside is a toile de Jouy dream; www.hotelsbarriere.com.

Villa Augeval Hotel de Charme & Spa

This three-star gem has 41 rooms, as well as an outdoor pool, sundeck and terrace. There’s also a wellness area with Turkish bath, sauna and treatment rooms for massages. It’s in a quiet residential area; all rooms have balconies overlooking a nearby stud farm. It’s just a short walk from bars, restaurants and the beach. Guests love its pretty garden where breakfast is served and where deckchairs provide ample opportunity for reading in a sheltered nook; www.laugeval.hotels-deauville.com.

Les Manoirs des Portes de Deauville – Small Luxury Hotel of the World

This hotel, located in Canapville, about ten minutes drive from Deauville is situated in a traditional Normandy manor surrounded by an expansive garden. As a member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World – code for beautiful boutique properties – there are 25 peaceful rooms decorated with pared back elegance  all within the listed historical building. There are also three cottages which can be rented on the estate grounds. A heated swimming pool and spa provide more opportunities to relax, while the hotel can arrange hot air ballooning and paragliding for more adventurous guests; www.en.portesdedeauville.com.

L’ Hotel du Golf Barrière 

This four-star hotel, which originally opened in 1929, has been likened to an ocean liner and overlooks the surrounding golf courses – some of the most beautiful in France. It’s majestic and inviting. The vibe curated is clubby and casual with Scottish tartans and Chesterfield furniture; it has just been renovated by Chantal Peyrat and now includes a Spa Diane Barrière. 

Play on the prestigious course course, which hosts the Lacoste Ladies Open (held in September 28-30), work on your swing in its resident Golf Academy, or enjoy tennis, cycling, water sports and horse riding. All this activity works up an appetite which is sated in Le Lassay, its formal dining room, or Le Green, a relaxed bar and restaurant, the perfect place to debrief about your round of golf and sample some local Calvados; www.hotelsbarriere.com.

Novotel Deauville Beach

Just a stone’s throw from the beach, the accommodation on offer at Novotel Deauville Beach includes modular family-friendly rooms and swanky sea-facing suites. There are two terraces – one on the ground floor and another on the top floor, which is also home to its panoramic restaurant. The beach, port and casino are just a few minutes walk away. Further afield, the Paleospace Science Museum is also worth a visit. The hotel also has an indoor swimming pool too; www.all.accor.com.


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