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Searching for the best things to do in Deauville? Perhaps making a stop in this beautiful village during a Normandy road trip? You’ve come to the right place!
I have a friend who grew up in Deauville and would always tell me that I needed to visit this town someday. She would mention its beautiful, sandy beach, how it is famous for its horse racing, and overall how great the place was.
So when I started planning a 7-day Normandy road trip, I knew I had to include some time here to find all the things to see and do in Deauville, France for myself.
And I’m so glad I did. This place is truly stunning from the iconic beach to its dreamy Town Hall. The village is definitely upscale, but far more approachable than some luxurious resort towns you’d find down in the South of France.
So if you’re searching for a lovely seaside town in Normandy, look no further than Deauville. And without further ado, let’s talk about what to see in Deauville during your time there!
17 Best Things to Do in Deauville, France
From horseback riding to chilling on the beach, these are the top things to do in Deauville Normandy!
1. Stroll Along the Promenade des Planches
Spend a delightful morning strolling leisurely along the Promenade des Planches. This is a wooden walkway along the beach where you can enjoy views of the water as well as the former bathing cabins at the old Pompeian Baths from the 1920s.
And what makes these old bathing cabins so unique is that there are names of celebrities along the cabins. Deauville is actually home to the annual American Film Festival, so you can spot many famous names along the bathing cabins including Danny Glover, Ron Howard, Jesse Eisenberg, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kate Beckinsale, and more!
2. Take Time to Enjoy the Beach
I highly recommend coming here during the summer months if you want to actually rent a beach chair or just lounge on the beach. Normandy weather can be a bit rainy and chilly any time of year, so summertime is your best chance for this.
Or you could happen to show up during a random heat wave in September as I did and be able to enjoy the water as well.
Either way, La Plage de Deauville is a must-visit. Enjoy the vast expanse of the beach during low tide, and take a dip in the English Channel to cool off.
While the water isn’t crystal clear like in the Mediterranean, it is still a great time frolicking on the beach and in the water!
And just like if you were in Cannes, they have beach rentals here where you can rent a chair and umbrella for the day. I recommend stopping in early when these restaurants open to reserve your spot.
We booked our chairs at Bar de la Mer and they have servers who will take your order and bring you drinks and food on the beach. We enjoyed some rosé and fries while relaxing during a hot Deauville afternoon.
As a bonus, unlike Cannes, chairs were also pretty cheap to rent. I want to say that it was around €25 for a chair versus €75+ per day during the high season in Cannes.
All in all, Deauville is known as a seaside resort, so you may as well enjoy the seaside!
3. Go Horseback Riding
I remember parking the car along the side of the street and walking to our hotel in Deauville. First, I caught a whiff of a barnyard/stable smell. Then, as I was walking to the hotel, I saw multiple stalls where people board their horses!
And it is in the middle of the city! It was really neat to see! And as Deauville is known for its horse culture, you may want to consider going horseback riding while here!
At Domaine de l’Atlas, which is about 10 minutes outside of Deauville, you can book a horseback riding tour on the beach, through a Norman village, and more!
4. Watch a Horse Race
The town of Deauville only has a population of about 3,700 people. Yet, there is not one but two horseracing tracks in the village and nearby! The first is the Hippodrome Deauville-La Tourques, which is a race track for thoroughbred horses.
This track was built in 1862 and is known as the prestigious race track in Deauville. It is where the more famous races are held.
The other track is the Hippodrome de Clairefontaine. This is located in Tourgeville near Deauville, and it hosts several racing events including thoroughbred racing, steeplechase, and more.
As someone who is originally from Kentucky, going to Deauville in a way reminded me of going to school in Lexington and spending time at Keeneland, which is the local racetrack there.
So if you love horses and horse racing, then you’ll love spending time at these race tracks in Deauville.
5. Admiring the Architecture is One of the Best Things to Do in Deauville
Since the 1800s, Deauville has been well-known as a seaside resort town. And many people had homes here to enjoy their vacations.
As such, the architecture here is sublime. Between its mix of influences of Norman architecture along with chalet balconies and influences from around Europe, the villas of Deauville are quite unique to behold.
Combine that with Art Nouveau and Art Deco influences too, and honestly, you’ll never want to stop taking photos of all the cool villas and buildings. I mean, even the Town Hall is stunning!
6. Les Franciscaines
145b Av. de la République
Located within walking distance of the beach, you can explore this cultural center in the heart of Deauville.
It is actually housed in a former Franciscan convent. It had also been home to an orphanage, school, and hospital over the years before being acquired by the city and made into this place.
The museum has exhibits on various art including paintings and photography.
It costs €16 for access to all the exhibits, and it is open Tuesday-Sunday from 10:30 am-6:30 pm.
7. Parc Calouste Gulbenkian
Aside from the beautiful beach, this area is also home to a 33-hectare park! This is a fantastic park where you can take long walks, go for a run, enjoy the various flower gardens, and just wander around for an hour or two!
8. Trying Your Luck at the Casino Barriere Deauville is One of the Top Deauville Things to Do
2 Rue Edmond Blanc
Feeling lucky? Why not head to the casino in Deauville? This large casino is absolutely stunning both inside and outside, and you can certainly find your share of fun games to play.
There are also other things to do here including going to the restaurants and bars as well as enjoying a show!
They host all kinds of entertainment including concerts, plays, magic shows, and more!
9. Admire Villa Strassburger
If you’re searching for a lovely Deauville tourist attraction, this is a great place to visit. This giant villa was commissioned by Baron Henri de Rothschild. This place has a lovely park surrounding it, and you can admire the impressive eclectic architecture from the exterior.
But, you can also make reservations in advance to go inside and explore the beautiful rooms! It isn’t open all the time for visits, so I suggest checking ahead of your time in Deauville to see when you can go!
10. Deauville Market
Pl. du Marché
If you’ve followed me for a while, you know I love a good market. Deauville has the most adorable farmers market with its charming Norman architecture-covered marketplace and stands selling anything from fruits and veggies to silk scarves and iPhone cases.
This is a great place to pick up stuff to make a picnic on the beach or just wander around. I purchased the most beautiful silk scarf at a stand and we loved seeing all the booths.
The Deauville Market is open from 7 am-1:30 pm on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, so be sure to time your visit accordingly!
11. For a Fresh Lunch, Going to the Marche aux Poissons in Trouville is One of the Best Things to Do Near Deauville, France
152 Bd Fernand Moureaux, Trouville-sur-Mer
Whether you want to drive or walk, you can cross the bridge from Deauville into Trouville and head to their amazing Mache aux Poissons.
This is a large fish market where you can certainly purchase seafood to take home and prepare, but you can also have lunch here!
The fishmongers lay out their catches of the day and you can simply order up what you’d like to eat for lunch along with a sauce and wine and sit down for an epic fresh seafood meal.
When we went, we got some prawns and crabs, and I even tried some whelks.
It was so flavorful and fresh. This is certainly a great place to go to and came highly recommended by a local friend!
The market is open daily from 9 am-7 pm.
12. Have Dessert at Le Jardin
5 Rue Hoche
This lovely little restaurant has a delicious menu and is great for dinner. We loved sitting out on their terrace during our meal.
But the best part of this restaurant has to be their dessert. Order the XXL Cafe Gourmand! If you don’t know what a cafe gourmand is, it is essentially a small dessert platter with mini versions of desserts to try as well as a small coffee.
Many restaurants offer them, and it is great when you want something sweet but can’t decide.
What makes this place special, however, is they have a huge platter with things like macarons, chocolate moose, cannelle, creme brulee, fruit, and even a little bit of Calvados, an apple brandy that Normandy is known for.
Seriously, you’re going to want to split this large platter!
13. Shop Until You Drop
Being known as the “Hamptons of Paris” and being well-known for its film festival that brings in celebrities, you know there is great shopping. And the luxury stores here are so cute in buildings that look like little villas of their own.
You can shop (or window shop for those of us on a budget!) at places like Hermes and Louis Vuitton or even some cute boutiques. There is also the Printemps Deauville mall that has plenty of places to buy some luxury goods.
14. Explore the Cider Route
Did you know that Normandy is famous for its apples and apple products? So much so that they actually have a Cider Route you can go on?
Yes, the Route du Cidre begins about 30 minutes from Deauville, and you can spend a day tasting cider, Calvados, and even some Pommeau (a mix of apple juice and Calvados).
Many places also sell things like apple cider vinegar and apple juice. And some places offer tours like at Chateau du Breuil.
We really enjoyed Chateau du Breuil which offers tours in English. It was a really informative and fun tour!
We also loved visiting places like Calvados Pierre Huet, GAEC du Manoir de Grandouet, and even exploring Les Jardins du Pays d’Auge and cheese tasting in Pont l’Eveque along the way!
15. Explore Nearby Honfleur
Just 20 minutes from Deauville is the cute Normandy town of Honfleur. This place is gorgeous, and you’ll definitely want to wander around the old harbor.
It is a Medieval town with tons of charm, so you could spend a couple of hours exploring! Be sure to check out the Maritime Museum to learn more about the maritime history of Honfleur as well as visit the Church of Sainte-Catherine, which is a wooden church made by shipwrights and is nautically decorated.
16. Check Out Events in Deauville
Deauville has some great annual events that you may want to be in town for! Of course, at this point, you’ve seen me mention the American Film Festival. This takes place in September.
However, there is the Easter Festival in April with classical music, the Deauville Christmas Market, as well as several horse racing events and competitions throughout the year!
For more events, check here!
17. Stay at a Villa-Inspired Hotel
While in Deauville, you may as well stay at a chic hotel that is inspired by the luxurious villas of the town. Of course, the obvious choice is the Hotel Barriere with its pool, spa, and bar.
However, for a boutique hotel experience, opt for Villa Augeval Boutique & Spa. This is where we stayed last time and it was lovely! We enjoyed the outdoor pool, beautiful rooms, and gorgeous grounds with plenty of places to sit and relax!
When to Visit Deauville, France
I’ve mentioned this earlier, but if you want to enjoy the beaches of Deauville and have better weather, you’ll want to visit during the summer months of June, July, and August.
Just know that this is also a popular time to visit Deauville. However, we ended up going in early September and it was also very nice!
So if you want to avoid some of the crowds (but don’t mind it potentially not being warm enough to swim), opt for June and early September for a visit.
Again, it is hard to say what the weather will be like, but there is a chance you can enjoy beach time during the summer months.
However, if you want to come for certain events, then you’ll want to plan for that accordingly. You can also visit Deauville any time of the year and enjoy it!
Whether you want to spot celebs at the American Film Festival in September or catch some horse races, you’ll love Deauville whenever you visit.
Getting to Deauville and Around the Town
Getting to Deauville is easy thanks to the Deauville-Trouville train station. The train from Paris to Deauville is a little over 2 hours long and you can find pretty good deals to get here.
If you really want flexibility and the ability to explore more of the surrounding area, however, I recommend renting a car. I like Auto Europe for finding good deals!
You can either rent a car in Deauville or just rent it in Paris and drive there. The drive from Paris to Deauville is about 2.5 hours.
Once you’re in Deauville, the easiest way to get around is walking. It is a walkable city, as it isn’t very large. However, for further away places, you can drive.
I found parking to be fine for the most part in the city, and we were able to find street parking near our hotel pretty easily.
Is Deauville Worth Visiting?
Absolutely! I adored Deauville when I visited. Again, it is an upscale village, but it isn’t stuffy. It is a beautiful Norman town full of charm, horses, a stunning sandy beach, and great food.
You won’t regret visiting Deauville during your time in Normandy!
Would you visit Deauville? Which of the best things to do in Deauville would you like to try?
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