The towns of Deauville and Trouville are linked at the hip like a pair of Siamese Twins. However, unlike a pair of Siamese Twins, there are only two of them, whereas there’d be four of the Siamese chaps… if you were being pedantic.
Trouville has a very pleasant beach. Monet and his mentor Boudin turned out a few nice canvasses on the beach at Trouville. Indeed one of Monet’s paintings in London’s National Gallery actually contains some grains of sand from the beach mixed in with the paint. However the French aren’t demanding their grains back, unlike the Greeks and their Elgin Marbles. ‘Finders-keepers’ is what I say on that one.
On the beach at Trouville these days there are plenty of diversions, other than taking your easel and felt-tips. There’s plenty for your kids to do including amusement rides, a swimming pool, upsetting the locals and treading in dog-poo. The French do have a very relaxed attitude to dog-poo, much more refreshing than England’s draconian laws about having to dispose of it responsibly. I think it teaches a child a life-lesson in being shown how to remove it from their shoes/clothes/hair.
There’s also a casino in which Winston Churchill used to gamble away the small hours with other European notables in the 20s and 30s. Indeed it was rumoured that the Britain’s declaration of war on Germany was actually about an unpaid gambling debt that Hitler ran up playing ‘Snap’ with Churchill.
There’s also a fantastic fish market on Saturdays but it isn’t recorded as to whether Churchill ever haggled over his kippers there.
However, the real attraction of the area is the best value horse racing you’ll find anywhere, especially in August. There are two racecourses in Deauville and throughout August there’s a meeting every other day. There are books of vouchers to be had on the campsites and in the tourist offices that mean you park free, get in free and there are free gifts for the kids. Your only expense is the gambling which is all on the tote. Even if you don’t get the vouchers it is only a handful of euros to get in.
The racecourses are spotless, stylish and families are welcomed. The courses make their money by taking a commission from the tote betting, as no other bookmakers are allowed on the course. They also make money from the catering. Although not from a tightfist like me who brings his own pack-up of sweaty baguettes, despite the protestations of his children.
It is a very sensible way to run horse racing and the crowds at the courses in France would suggest it is very successful, they also do the same in Holland and Italy. So, all in all, it’s an excellent opportunity to gamble the holiday spending money at little additional expense.
Contrast this with the piece of junk mail awaiting me on my return to Angleterre, which sums up why less and less people go horse racing in the UK every year. This held the wonderful news that Sandown Park Racecourse were happy to offer me their ‘bargain’ entry price of only £15 for one of their evening meetings. I think they know where they can stick that one.
See my other less than useful travel guides to France by clicking here.