Trouville-sur-Mer and the Impressionists

Trouville-sur-Mer is located on the north bank of the mouth of the Touques on the Côte Fleurie.

Trouville-sur-Mer - Port and fish market
Port and fish market

It is only 2 hours from Paris by the A13-A132, and has become a popular weekend destination for the Parisians.

Deauville-Trouville train station, as the name suggests, serves the two resorts.

Until 1925, Trouville-sur-Mer was a modest fishing port specialised in oyster farming.

Its origin goes back to the creation of the Duchy of Normandy, when it was the property of Thorulfr the Viking.

A small group of landscape painters, led by Charles Mozin and Paul Huet, ‘discovered’ the isolated village when they went to Normandy in order to paint the dunes and exceptional light of this then untamed coastline.

The public discovered Trouville-sur-Mer started through the paintings Mozin exhibited at the Louvre Museum!

Eugène Boudin, Jean-Baptiste Corot and Claude Monet followed in their steps and produced countless paintings.

Writers such as Gustave Flaubert and Alexandre Dumas became regulars at Trouville-sur-Mer.

Plage de Trouville-sur-mer – The ‘Queen Beach’

The French elite discovered the benefits of sea bathing  in the 1820s.

The trend amplified during the Second Empire.

Trouville-sur-Mer sandy beach
Trouville-sur-Mer sandy beach

Indeed, wealthy Parisians, foreign tourists and artists flocked and developed the resort between 1860 and 1880.

They also competed with each other!

They indeed build lavish seafront mansions in order to display their social rank.

These mansions’ architectural style was therefore very eclectic – Swiss chalets, Arabic palaces or traditional timber-frame buildings painted in various colours!

A casino and many luxury hotels were also built along the seafront in order to cater for a wealthy French and foreign clientele.

Lavish buildings soon lined the 1200m long sandy beach of Trouville-sur-Mer, which was soon nicknamed the ‘Reine des Plages – Queen Beach’.

Amazingly, Trouville-sur-mer is one of the few remaining Norman resorts that has retained most of its seafront Second Empire architecture!

A boardwalk runs along the central section of the beach.

The Promenade Savignac was the first to be built (1867) on the Normandy coast.

It was named after the much celebrated poster designer Raymond Savignac, who retired in Deauville in 1979.

Deauville’s landmarks

Unlike Deauville, Trouville-sur-mer’s seashore didn’t recede nor change shape.

The resort is therefore exactly as it was in the 19th century!

Many buildings erected during the Second Empire are also classified Historical Monument.

1- Among these is the Hôtel des Roches Noires – built in 1866 – where Marcel Proust, then much later Marguerite Duras, sojourned.

Casino de Trouville-sur-Mer
Casino de Trouville-sur-Mer

Claude Monet immortalized the hotel in one of his paintings.

2- The Villa Montebello, an impressive mansion built in 1865, today houses the Musée de la Ville de Trouville-sur-Mer.

3- The lord of Trouville built the Château d’Aguesseau in the 17th century.

The castle, however, was heavily remodeled in the mid 19th century.

4- Trouville has retained its small fishing port.

La Poissonnerie, as the covered fish market (built in 1935) is locally known, is a compulsory stop when visiting the resort!

5- the other major landmarks include the marina, casino, countless classified buildings and the Palais des Congrès.

Trouville-sur-mer Festival Off-Courts

All these contribute to the reputation of Trouville-sur-mer!

This elegant and internationally renowned seaside resort is indeed frequented by personalities from all around the world.

Some travel to attend the annual Festival de Courts Métrages – Festival Off-Courts, which was founded in 2000.

You never know who you might bump into when strolling along!

Department of Calvados
Coordinates: Lat 49.366289 – Long 0.082808

Photos Wikimedia Commons: Sandy beachCasino and portPort and fish market

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