Discover our local Gay Deauville Guide and insiders’ recommendations, for best gay bars, clubs, restaurants, museums, monuments, shopping …
Deauville is the capital of the Normandy coast, called “La Cote Fleurie”, a superb region which, despite its proximity to Paris, retains a substantial identity.
The city is sometimes called the 21st district of Paris.
It is one of the most gay-friendly cities in Western France.
However, despite its proximity to the Capital, Deauville never became the French version of Brighton or Sitges.
Actually, most gay Parisian prefer to take a speed train or plane to go south for a seaside weekend.
Though, Deauville has a lot to offer and it is an ideal place to explore the Normandy coast, and its mythical seaside resorts such as Cabourg, Honfleur and Trouville, who have a long gay history, as narrated by the dandy writer Marcel Proust.
The hinterland with its superb villages, such as Beauvron en Auge, tiny churches, and magnificent landscapes worth a visit.
During a trip to the West of France, or if you are on your way to visit Brittany or Mont Saint Michel a stop in Deauville is therefore essential.
Like Biarritz in Basque country, the city has been for one century a landmark for the aristocracy and the good Parisian bourgeoisie.
Note that Deauville is the place where Coco Chanel opened its first boutique, as it was a perfect place to sell expensive clothes.
The Chanel historical shop on Rue Gontaut-Biron closed its doors in 2013. Only a portrait of Coco Chanel, designed by Karl Lagerfeld, remains today on the facade as memorial.
The mythical gay couple Pierre Bergé and Yves Saint Laurent, or the bisexual author Françoise Sagan, had holiday houses close to Deauville for many years.
Those places were a must for French gay jet-setters in the seventies and eighties.
Nowadays, there are still some beautiful testimonies of this golden age, made of beautifully renovated hotels, “Anglo-Normand” villas and buildings, and casinos with an old atmosphere.
Villa Strassburger is a magnificent example of Anglo-Normand seaside architecture that you can visit in the summer.
The beautiful avenues are full of sophisticated shops, excellent restaurants and art galleries … Note that Deauville is a pretty pricey city.
Deauville, such as Sitges, is famous for its many film festivals.
The American film festival in September attracts leading film stars.
On the seaside promenade, called “Les planches de Deauville,” you can see the name of the famous actors and actress who assisted this festival.
If you can afford it, have a drink in one of the city’s legendary luxury hotels, such as “Le Normandy” or “Le Royal Barriere.”
They offer a cozy and romantic atmosphere, in beautiful old settings.
The Art Deco Casino is also worth a visit.
On Sundays, you should visit the local food market, located under a beautiful half-timbered hall at Place du Marché.
It is a real traditional French market, full of colors and good/bad smells and offers plenty of stalls, where local producers sell Normand specialties.
Black pudding, sausages, tripes, andouilles, Camembert, Livarot, Pont l’évêque, crème fraiche…
Everything you need to gain 4 kilos in record time before Sitges Bear week.
If you are more into Circuit or Mykonos, or a great fan of Kate Moss you can buy 3 apples and some local seafood to fill you for one week.
Day trip from Deauville
Honfleur, a few kilometers from Deauville, is a former fisherman’s port miraculously spared from bombing during the Second World War.
Everywhere there are cobbled alleys, beautiful half-timbered houses, churches with incredible shapes and a whole host of great shops selling paintings, antiques and local products.
The Eugène Boudin Museum is a must. Boudin means black pudding in French, but don’t panic it’s not an exhibition of local sausages.
It is a great place to learn a bit more about the city’s golden artistic age when the most famous impressionists painters, such as Claude Monnet, John Jongkind, Gustave Courbet, and of course Eugène Boudin settle in the village.
Gay life in Deauville and in the Cote Fleurie
The atmosphere in Deauville, Honfleur or Cabourg is very gay-friendly, even if there is few100% gay venues. If you have a car, you will undoubtedly spend your afternoons on one of the many gay-friendly beaches in the region.
Among them is the famous Plage des Vaches Noires, set between Villers-sur-Mer and Houlgate.
Note that traffic jams are frequent on beach’s roads in summer and parking can be challenging.
As there is little public transport, the other more sporty option is to take a bike, and admire the coast and landscapes.
Sunset above the sea on a beautiful summer day is a perfect show to bluff your boyfriend.