To my mind, nothing boosts the morale as much as sun and surf. After living near San Francisco Bay from January till June, I have been feeling "land-locked" back at my place in Paris. I've also missed seeing the sun. So, when a bit of summer weather finally came to northern France a few days ago, yesterday I headed to the coast. I couldn't get away for more than a day, but that was plenty of time to have a "change of ideas", as the French say.
My destination was Deauville and its neighboring town, Trouville, in Normandy. I chose them because they are easily accessible from Paris (only a two-hour train-ride away) and because they both have wide, sandy beaches. In addition, Deauville has amenities that I really appreciate: wooden planks or "planches" stretched across the sand for comfortable walking, open-air restaurants and cafes, a "thalasso" (spa), and an Olympic-size, salt-water swimming pool. I'm not a shopper or a gambler, but I should mention it also has elegant shops, a race-track, and a world-renowned casino (where, as I was told by a gentleman in the train, American rock-singer Christopher Cross was performing over the weekend).
Posters everywhere reminded me that Deauville is also the venue for the American Film Festival at the end of the summer; and the two elegant "palaces" along the beach, the Hotel Normandy Barriere and the Hotel Royal Barriere, made me dream of elegance of another era.
Trouville, is more quaint, more hilly and more typically "Norman", with its half-timbered houses, its fish market, fishing boats and wharf along the estuary. The Trouville beach, as in Deauville, also has planches and rents out, by the day, week or month, colorful parasols and changing huts, as well as old-fashioned changing boxes where you can lock up your things.
What's wonderful about these two towns is that you can walk everywhere from the train station. I arrived at 11 am and walked over to Deauville, made a 3 PM appointment for a facial at the spa, then walked up and down the beach, dabbling my feet in the 17°C water, before returning to the spa for a swim in the Olympic-size, salt-water swimming pool, a late lunch, and my one-hour long algae-facial. After that, I walked back to the estuary and took a little ferry
from Deauville over to Trouville, where I spent two hours sunning and reading on the beach before walking back to the train station to catch my 7 PM train.
All in all, it was a lovely day and, as I said in the beginning, a real "morale-booster."
(Please note: As an experiment and a comparison, I have this time also posted this entry and its accompanying photos on my Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/hilarykaiser
. Please forgive me if you receive duplicate messages about seeing this entry.)
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