Artists and writers have long fallen for Trouville, Deauville’s older sibling. Trouville matches its close rival of a resort for glamorous buildings and villas, for splendid sands and boardwalk, and for cultural attractions, but it also has a vibrant fishing port.
If those French literary giants, Flaubert and Proust, approved, Trouville must have style. As to Monet and his Norman master, Boudin, they painted memorable scenes of 19th century bourgeois in their finery promenading along the broad beachfront here. In fact, Trouville was one of the first-ever coastal resorts to be developed in France. Artists may have started the trend for coming here, but by the time of Emperor Napoleon III, from the mid 19th century on, the rich and fashionable flocked to Trouville too. They ordered grand villas and palaces of entertainment, like the glitzy casino.
Trouville casino was built surprisingly close to the lively fishing port, backed by a classic covered fish market, with lively seafood restaurants all around. Scallops, sole, prawns and mackerel are traditional specialities. The lively port area draws the crowds, particularly for the Wednesday and Sunday markets. You’ll also find typical seaside shops.
Wander up the slope into the winding lanes to enjoy the calmer side of Trouville, as well as characterful 19th century architecture. Culture vultures can find their fill in the galleries around town. Back beside the sea, Trouville’s strand was declared ‘Queen of Beaches’ in the past and is still greatly appreciated by bathers and walkers today. Elating trips out to sea or relaxing thalassotherapy sea-water treatements are also on the cards here.
Marguerite Duras, perhaps France’s most famous female writer of the 20th century, was a great cultural figure who became a devotee of Trouville, spending her summers here. She said that everyone she had ever met who had come to the resort for a first time said they dreamt of returning.
- The covered fish market: this elegant building dating from 1935 stands out on the quays beside the fishing harbour.
- The beach and boardwalk: Trouville’s classic boardwalk, so often depicted in paintings, dates from 1867 and was the first created on the Norman coast. It still allows for a very elegant promenade. Today, strolling along here, you can admire both the long sandy beach and the splendid villas and smart coastal blocks built from the second half of the 19th century.
- Casino: this unmissable extravaganza of a building has been done up sumptuously inside by leading French designer Jacques Garcia, who has strong ties with Normandy – see the separate entry on his Château du Champ de Bataille.
- Musée Villa Montebello: This typical villa was turned into Trouville’s fine arts museum after it was acquired by the town. Along with its classic permanent collections, it hosts temporary exhibitions by contemporary artists.
- Savignac murals and Galerie du Musée: The accomplished humorous poster designer, Raymond Savignac, settled in Trouville and became deeply attached to the resort. He died in 2002. The town has honoured him with a gallery beside the tourist office, plus you can see murals by him dotted around the resort.