Nothing announces the arrival of summer like a trip to the beach!! While Paris might seem rather isolated from any swimmable bodies of water (the Seine should not be considered swimmable, and neither should the Canal St. Martin though I have seen a brave drunk soul in the latter), Paris is only a two hour train ride away from large sandy Atlantic beaches.
Deauville-Trouville, twin coastline towns in Normandy, are absolutely fabulous destinations for those looking to get out of the city for the weekend or even the day. Trains go out of Paris’s Gare St. Lazare every hour so you can easily get there early to enjoy a full day at the beach, and then come back at a reasonable hour after you have enjoyed a nice seafood dinner. (for a SNCF train schedule click here) The Deauville-Trouville train station is about a fifteen minute walk form the beach, and walk is really nice because it leads you through the charming town of Deauville where you can peek into darling little boutiques along the way.
Deauville’s beach is a classic with all its multi-colored umbrellas, beach front cafés, and of course the “changing rooms” of the rich and famous. The boardwalk offers public restrooms, ice cream stands, sandwich places and the odd beach store selling hats, sunscreen, towels….and anything else you might have forgotten. Just don’t expect it to be cheap! The water temperature in summer is refreshing and warm, okay, so not Mediterranean warm, but warm enough for enjoyable swimming and splashing around.
I have made it a yearly tradition to go with friends, and I have yet to be disappointed! It is truly a mini-vacation where you’ve thoroughly escaped the hustle and bustle of Paris, and entered that “endless” summer vacation zone!