Deauville, an open air museum
Deauville, open air museum

Deauville, in days gone by...
...was a small farming village on Mont-Canisy, a hill rising above the sea. The hundred or so inhabitants of Dosville whose houses were clustered around the church of Saint-Laurent, lived mainly from agriculture and livestock farming. The marshes and the dunes, down from the village, where the future Deauville was to be built, were pastureland where cattle and sheep grazed.
It was during the summer of 1858 that the Duke of Morny, Napoleon III's half-brother, who had been invited to Trouville by his physician, Doctor Olliffe, became inspired by the idea of building a kingdom of elegance close to Paris on this stretch of sand and marsh : the seaside resort of Deauville.
Morny, in partnership with Doctor Olliffe, the banker Donon and the architect Breney, created a town in four years, whose casino, Grand Hotel, beach and racecourse were soon to attract a clientele from the Parisian and international aristocracies...
Over a period of three centuries, Deauville has remained up to date, developping from seaside resort, active for a few weeks in the year, to embrace the culture of the all year round week-end retreat, without for all that renouncing its cultural and architectural roots.

Come and discover Deauville's history and heritage !

The Town Hall

The present Town Hall building was built in 1881 by the architect Saintin, under instructions from Breney. The structure of the Town Hall has remained unchanged since its construction. It has since been Normanised : embellished with half-timbering by the architect Albert Guy, in 1961.


Place du Marché

The market square and the covered market

The hallettes, the covered area of the market, dates from 1923 and was built using solid wooden panelling, reflecting the architect Georges Madeline's desire that it should be the expression of a regional identity, and a show-case for the skills of local craftsmen.

The Pier

Until the mid-19th Century, access to the dry harbour at the mouth of the Touques was difficult for fishing boats. The construction of a pier, built between 1846 and 1849, had become essential for the safety of the fishermen as they entered and left the port. The former pier, destroyed during the Second World War, was rebuilt in 1952.

La jetée

Villa Les Abeilles

The villa Les Abeilles

The villa Les Abeilles was built in 1910 by Bluysen, renowned for his villas in Le Touquet and the Parisian cinema Le Grand Rex, for Madame Paquin, the famous Parisian Milliner. The use of concrete enabled him to fashion an edifice with large openings and smooth lines. It is stylistically more mediaeval than Norman, and was rented, notably, by André Citroën between the wars.

The Normandy Barrière Hotel

Built in 1912 on the instigation of Eugène Cornuché, a businessman and the creator of Maxim's in Paris, Désiré Le Hoc, the Mayor of Deauville, and the architect Théo Petit, the Normandy Hotel, with the casino, replaced and updated the Second Empire style of construction. The new luxury hotel was immediately successful thanks to its level of comfort, facilities, furnishings and novel interior decoration. The exterior façades are finished with imitation wood panelling in celadon, the pale green used in Chinese porcelain.

Normandy Barrière

Les épi de faîtage

Decorative Finials

An oriental tradition since the 12th Century, decorative finials in varnished terracotta have been a typically Augeron speciality since the 15th Century. These terracotta ornaments have diversified and now confer a veritable identity on the manor houses whose roofs they grace. There are three main categories of motif : flora, fauna, and the allegorical.

The Casino

The Casino first opened its doors in 1864, but was demolished thirty years later in 1895. It was replaced in 1912 by an edifice designed by the architect Georges Wybo, which took its inspiration from buildings dating from the 18th Century, evocative of festivals and the simple pleasures of rustic frivolity, like the Petit Trianon, the opera house of the Château de Versailles, and the small theatres on the Champs Elysées built during the Restoration period. Its neo-Louis XVI architecture has been modified over time to suit the tastes and fashions of its aficionados; the façade has been moved forward by 6 metres, enabling a large gallery to be created, and it is now open on the seaward side. It is ranked among the major casinos in Europe and is the third largest in France.

Casino Barrière

The C.I.D (Centre International de Deauville)

The C.I.D, inaugurated in 1992, was built 14 metres below sea-level in order to preserve the view over the ocean. A veritable technical feat, both with regard to its architecture, the idea of a Deauville architect facilities and fittings, it has opened Deauville to business tourism and an international clientele  

The Pompeian Baths

In 1921, the Deauville town council organised a competition for the renovation of the wooden bathing cabins. The prize-winner, Charles Adda, built the Pompeian Baths in 1923, whose atrium enfilade, arcades and mosaics refer back to the archaeological models of Antiquity. At that time, the establishment consisted of 250 cabins, a bar, shops and Turkish baths. The Pompeian baths are registered on the additional list of historic seaside monuments.

Les Bains pompéiens

Les Plnches The boardwalk Les Planches

This famous promenade along the beach, made in 1923 of ekki or eba, a species of hardwood from Madagascar that is reputed to be totally resistant to decay and rot, is 643 metres long. It is lined on one side by small cabins sporting the names of the American stars who have come to Deauville during the American Film Festival, and on the other by the celebrated coloured parasols, whose dominant blue and red are the colours of Deauville.

The Olympic swimming-pool

Built by the architect Roger Taillibert, who also designed the Parc des Princes in Paris, Deauville's Olympic swimming-pool was built in 1966 under the patronage of Maurice Chevalier and Marie Laforêt.The construction project included an Olympic pool fed with desalinated sea-water, and a thalassotherapy centre, situated right next to it. The edifice owes its architectural originality to the series of reinforced concrete shells and half-shells covering the swimming-pools..


Royal Barrière

The Royal Barrière

In 1912, Eugène Cornuché, who had already shared in the founding of the Normandy Hotel, decided to built a second hotel, a symbol of Deauville's luxury and elegance. So it was that the villa La Louisiane belonging to the Duke of Morny was superseded by the Royal Hotel, designed by the architects Théo Petit and Georges Wybo, in 1913.

Le Circle

This space, its façade sporting recessed busts, has been a private club ever since it was built in 1875; race-horse owners from major stables meet here.

La Villa du cercle

Etablissements Elie de Brignac

The Elie de Brignac Establishment

In a region dedicated to the horse, and with the success of horse-racing, horse fairs quickly became important for Deauville. As early as 1887, the Chéri and then Tattersall Français establishments organized the first horse trading fair. In 1968-69, a promotional organisation (the Société d'encouragement) founded the Elie-de-Brignac establishment, named after its prospector and built by the architect Pierre Davy, which rapidly became one of the world's leading thoroughbred markets. A majority of the race-horses traded here are bred in Lower Normandy. The Elie-de-Brignac hall is also a concert hall and theatre, whose acoustic qualities are enhanced by its laminated wood architecture.


The Villa Strassburger

In 1907, on the site of a farm belonging to Gustave Flaubert's family, Henri de Rothschild had a villa built by an architect from Caen, Pichereau, which came to be called the Ferme du Coteau (the hillside farm). Following the Great War, the villa was bought by the wealthy American Beaver Strassburger, it became his favourite residence. His son donated it to the Town of Deauville in 1980. Its design is a combination of both the rural architectural style and that of Pays d'Auge manor house. The luxury of its fittings and furnishings and its picturesque style make it one of Deauville's most beautiful villas. It has been listed on the additional Historic Monuments register since 1975.
The villa can be visited in July and August, on Tuesday and Wednesday at 3:00pm and 4:00pm (adults : 2.30 euros, free for children under 12)
Discover the CAMPAGNOLA EXHIBITION, Enrico Campagnola's paintings and sculptures, offered to the city of Deauville by the Bret-Campagnola Donation

Villa Strassburger

The Deauville-La Touques racecourse

The Deauville-La Touques racecourse was built in 1864 at the instigation of Duke the Morny, who was a horse enthusiast. The resort became a centre for horse racing. The first stands were also buit in 1864, on the Fontainebleau model. They were later replaced in 1913 by new facilities similar to those at Longchamp, designed by the architect Lefranc. At the same moment, a long straight measuring 1600m (one mile), one of the longest in France, was also inaugurated, lending new appeal to the races. Inside the racecourse are two polo pitches where top international teams play during the summer season.
Free guided tour of the racecourse on Sunday afternoon (racing days only), at 3:00pm, 4:00pm and 5:00pm. Meeting point : information desk.


The railway station

The present Trouville-Deauville station, built by the architect Jean Phillipot, became operational in 1931. It replaced the Second Empire station inaugurated in 1863 by the Duke of Morny. The former building had become dilapidated and inadequate for the ever-increasing flow of travellers. The new buildings, laid out in a U-shape, enclose the rail terminus on three sides. The station, conceived in a Norman style as requested by both town councils, was required to combine modern infrastructure and efficiency with an architectural aspect capable of expressing a certain idea of Normandy from the moment passengers alighted.








Guided tours are also organised throughout the summer in Deauville :

  • Guided tours of the town on foot or by bicycle during July and August
  • Guided tours of town throughout the year for groups of 20 and over, don't hesitate to contact us for more details
  • Tours of the batteries and nature trail around Mont-Canisy
  • The little tourist train
  • The Villa Strassburger (Summer)
  • Deauville-La Touques and Deauville-Clairefontaine racecourses
  • Saint-Laurent chapel, the presbytery and the old school
  • The Calouste Gulbenkian Park, also called Domaine des Enclos


Discover our brochures

Deauville, an open air museum


Tourist Guide 2008


available at the Tourist Office or on request >>