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Deauville Trouville France French Holidays

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The 15km stretch of coast between Honfleur and Deauville is expensive but not as overdeveloped as Trouville and Deaville themselves, towns that seem to exist solely for the tourist trade. Since the 1860s, when Napoléon III came here every summer with his court in tow, the towns have been a popular destination for Parisians wanting to take the sea air.

Deauville is even more guilty of trying to be Paris on Sea, or the "21 st arrondissement " as it is called, with its racetrack, casino and upmarket boutiques all ready to extricate the cash from the visitor. At least Trouville retains some semblance of normal life behind the scenes.

There is a shared gare SNCF and gare routière for both towns, located in between them, south of the marina. Deauville's tourist office is on place de la Mairie (02 31 14 40 00) or there is one in Trouville at 32 quai F.Moureaux (02 31 14 60 70).

As for accommodation, prices are inevitably high, which either indicates luxurious or overpriced facilities. The Flaubert, rue Gustave Flaubert (02 31 88 37 23) at one end of Trouville's boardwalk is where you will find the acclaimed Le Vivier restaurant, and has rooms for €55 70. Cheaper alternatives (all in Trouville) are the Hotel Paix, 4 place F.Moreaux (02 31 88 35 15) with doubles from €35, or the Hotel la Reynita, 29 rue Carnot (02 31 87 86 85) from €30. If you are determined to find a bed in Deauville, try the Hotel des Sports, 27 rue Gambetta (02 31 88 22 67) priced at €55 70.

Places to eat include two of note on the rue Eugène Colas in Deauville : at number 55 you will find Mamy Crepe, serving quiche, sandwiches and crepes, and at number 81 is a top notch Parisian bistro that serves good quality food from €40. In Trouville try the Bistrot Sur Le Quai, 68 bvd F.Moureaux (02 31 81 28 85) with its €10 seafood menus, or Les Vapeurs at number 160 (02 31 88 15 24) for good fish dishes.

Although Deauville is trying to be for the Channel what Cannes is to the Mediterranean, its American Film Festival in the first week of September couldn't be more different as it is open to all, and still attracts Hollywood stars. The Promenade des Planches by the beach is another place to spot glamorous people walking their tiny dogs before heading off to swim in one of the private huts. The Aquarium Vivarium de Trouville has an interesting collection of sealife, reptiles and insects on view for around €6. Alternatively, there is plenty of shopping to be done but without the excitement of really being in the grands magasins in Paris.