Under a 3 hour drive from Calais, Deauville, the location that inspired Ian Fleming’s first Bond novel, Casino Royale, is perfect for a day break…
Once a notorious playground of the international upper class, Deauville has not lost it’s exclusive edge but now less like a private members club and a more enjoyable place for someone with a rational amount of money.
It is well-known for its casino which was the inspiration for the fictional casino in Ian Fleming’s first Bond novel, Casino Royale. Ian Fleming played at Deauville as a young man and in Casino Royale he uses these experiences as inspiration for James Bond’s baccarat battles with his enemy Le Chifre in the fictional town of Royale-Les-Eaux.
The casino really is something to behold, even if casinos aren’t your thing. The building was designed in a neo-Louis XVI Belle Epoque style by Georges Wybo it looks much like the Château de Versailles. During the German occupation during WW2, the casino was confiscated for use by the army but was subsequently restored to its past grandeur. The casino is steeped in history and this is certainly apparent when you are there.
Entrance is free (although you must produce a passport or driving license to get in) and once inside you can take a seat at a table, a slot machine or just watch other gamblers take on the banque.
Yet Deauville is more than just a casino. The late summer onslaught of Hollywood stars for the American Film Festival is a sight to savor as the likes of George Clooney and Matt Damon make an appearance each year. The festival is a celebration of American cinema and it takes place in early September every year on the seafront.
Horse riding is another of Deauville’s main attractions and races take place year round with some major stakes being played out at the Deauville-La Touques racecourse. Most notably, the Deauville International Meeting every August attracts many race-goers as does the Winter Meeting. There are also a two revered Polo competitions every August, the Coupe d’Or and the Lucien Barrière Deauville Polo Cup, both of which attract the best players in the world.
The drive from Calais takes approximately 2 hours 30 minutes and in order to break the journey, a visit to Dieppe, about half way, will not go amiss. Famous for its great food, in particular the local specialty – scallops, Dieppe holds an unfashionable charm which is hard to miss when strolling through the narrow streets, bombarded by fabulous smells of cheese and fresh seafood.
Image Credit: Jam Adams