- For the motorcycle of the same name, see Honda Deauville.
Deauville is a commune in the Calvados département in the Basse-Normandie region of France. With its racecourse, harbour, international film festival, marinas, conference centre, villas, Grand Casino and sumptuous hotels, Deauville is regarded as the "queen of the Norman beaches". Since the 19th-century, the town of Deauville has been a fashionable holiday resort for the international upper class.. Deauville is also a desired family resort.
The first reference to Deauville is in 1060. At this time the village was called A Enilla and was more of a fishing hamlet than a village. A Enilla comes from the Germanic
Auwja Auwa meaning wet meadow
. The village
was originally up on the hill and a few houses were built next to the St Laurent chapel
. Thanks to its situation near the coast, the village had a small harbour
on the river Touques
, of little importance.
Duc de Morny
Deauville or Dauville owes its greater prominence to the Duc de Morny
. He described the village thus: Cité calme, aux rue désertes, elle forme avec Trouville, animée et bruyante, un contraste absolu. Mais ce manque de vie n'est, en réalité, qu'apparent, car des magnifiques propriétés, de même que les délicieux jardins qui les entourent, sont entretnus avec un soin on ne peut plus raffiné.
In 1855 land was being bought at 5 centimes
; in 1862 the same land was worth 1 Franc
. The buyer had indeed bought marsh land and sold constructible land.
It was in 1858 that doctor Oliffe, who owned a villa in Trouville, decided to create a "town of pleasure" on the deserted sand dunes and in 1862 the first stone of today's Deauville was laid.
The duc bought 2.4 square kilometres of marsh land and dunes for 800,000 Francs. The Touques was still unchannelled but during the Second Empire the low tides permitted the construction of walls.
In the 1860s visits by Napoleon III made the coast of Normandy adjacent to Deauville fashionable, and soon speculators developed the infrastructure necessary to accommodate members of the Imperial court and the growing Parisian bourgeoisie.
The railway arrived at Trouville-sur-Mer in 1863. Using the station called Trouville, passengers could reach Deauville in 6 hours from Paris. Morny, who had influence at Court, managed to persuade the aristocracy that staying on the coast would benefit their health. Land was bought and large villas, sometimes even palaces, were built. A casino and hotels soon followed and rich tourists came in their numbers. A common old joke among locals is that the wealthy bourgeoisie Frenchmen would keep their wife in Deauville and their mistress in Trouville, making light of the disparate socioeconomic statuses of the two neighboring seaside villages, Trouville being a working class fishing village and Deauville being home to exclusive shops and expensive real estate.
The locked harbour was dug up in 1866.
Deauville hardly suffered during the First World War. It was during World War II with the German Occupation that Deauville saw most of its leisure proprieties confiscated for use by the occupying force.
During the 1960s, Deauville started to see more mass-market visitors. It still is now a haven for the rich and famous as well as holiday makers.
Home to the Deauville-La Touques Racecourse
, the countryside around Deauville is the main horse breeding
region in France and home to numerous stud farms. As a result, the city is twinned
with Lexington, Kentucky
, the most important locale for American
horse breeding. The important Ventes de Deauville
is held in mid-August each year at Deauville.
- F. Scott Fitzgerald mentions Deauville in "The Great Gatsby" as a place Tom Buchanan and Daisy visit on their honeymoon.
- Deauville was perhaps the location inspiration for the fictional casino in Ian Fleming's Casino Royale. The first of the James Bond series largely takes part in a Casino - Fleming had played at Deauville as a young man, and sets his tale of Bond versus Soviet agents in a fictional French gambling resort, drawing parallels with an actual WW2 visit he had made to a Portuguese casino whilst working for the British secret service.
- The screen adaption of Agatha Christie's Murder on the Links was set in Deauville.
- The Deauville casino is the setting for the heist in Bob le flambeur, directed by Jean-Pierre Melville.
- Deauville was the setting for part of A Man and a Woman.
- Deauville, together with Cabourg and Trouville, provides the basis for the Norman coastal resort of Balbec in Marcel Proust's A La Recherche du Temps Perdu (Remembrance of Things Past). For a discussion of Proust's use of Norman locations and the interplay between the social structures of his novel and the region's place in French social history, see http://fds.oup.com/www.oup.co.uk/pdf/0-19-925688-8.pdf
- Deauville was a popular vacation spot for Coco Chanel during her affair with Boy Capel. The two opened her second shop there, which was the first place Chanel took the step from hat making to clothing. Deauville was the birth place of Chanel's clothing career.
- Billionaire couple Chryss Goulandris and Tony O'Reilly, the former a major horse breeder (with a stud near Deauville) and Greek shipping heiress, and the latter an Irish media magnate and controlling shareholder of Waterford Wedgwood - the couple own a chateau in the area, reputed to be where William the Conqueror planned the invasion of England, and have a major residence at Kilcullen near twin town Kildare, Ireland.
- French fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent had one of his homes in Deauville. All of his homes which he shared with a succession of French bulldogs, always named Moujik, were lavishly decorated and filled with antiques and artwork by his favorite artists, who included Picasso, Cocteau, Braque and Christian Bérard.
Deauville is twinned with: