24 hours in Trouville, Normandy

Have I mentioned Deauville-Trouville in the region of Normandy recently? Well, traveling to me is comparable to eyeing a pretty painting: each time, you find a detail that sparks your emotion. So here are few more local goodies.

View from Chez Marinette

View in mirror upstairs Chez Marinette

In the winter, remember to pack a pair of wellies, a wooly and rain gear in your bag – et voilà! The best is yet to come…

L’Essentiel restaurant in Deauville. What happens when a Norman exec reconverted into a Chef by Ledeuil and Robuchon meets a Korean woman in the kitchen of Ze Kitchen Galerie in Paris? Total fusion.

P1010664 l'Essentiel Deauville © Tristane de la Presle

They relocate to his childhood grounds and four years later pallets in search of exoticism continue to call the East meets West duet for “encore”. The essence here is in your plate. Wagyu beef (out of this world) with seasonal vegetables, Duck in Thai herbs bouillon with marinated foie gras (excellent), Pistachio soup with coconut cream and home-made crunch (original and smooth) and Cheese cake soufflé with vanilla curcuma (looks like a soufflé, feels like a waffle, tastes like cheesecake). And with a menu ceaselessly reinvented, one understands why patrons salute the Chef saying, “à demain!”
31, rue Mirabeau – 14800 Deauville. Tel: +33 (0)2 31 87 22 11

Boutique Mayelle Deauville © TdlP

Around the corner is a bright turquoise storefront: mayelle concept store. A fun place on a rainy afternoon to browse terribly exciting stuff like a frog that you kiss which turns into a prince once in a glass, hilarious labels to cover the warnings on your pack of ciggies, Kusmi Tea and myriad other gift ideas. 11, rue Désiré le Hoc – 14800 Deauville.

Merci la plage © Tristane de la Presle Merci Trouville © Tristane de la Presle

Crossing over the Pont des Belges is the quaint fisherman’s village of Trouville-sur-Mer. I had read about it and was surprised. Yet there it was. The très Parisian concept store had indeed opened nearly two years ago this mini-loft annex housed in an atelier-like space with beautiful tall windows. Apparently destined to be a pop-up for a season, “locals” signed a petition for it to stay! Tableware, linens, accessories, notebooks and beach bags: the essentials for a weekend at the shore. MERCI! Open Thursday thru Sunday. 93 rue des Bains, 14360 Trouville-sur-Mer. Tel: +33(0)2 31 81 05 07.

La Petite Jeanette TrouvilleThe romantic stroll (just the two of us) by the beach under the cold rain was starting to fade in appeal; thank goodness for a bit of story telling at La Petite Jeannette. What originated in 1895 as a family business for the finest of striped pajamas and cotton goods, evolved in the 1950s into a passion for knitwear. Was it due to the climate change or to the Parisian weekend invaders? Regardless, today, fine materials, bohemian colors, texture and hand-crafted luxury transpire through the windows. A maison with a surprising selection of Shetland plaids, tweeds and Edinburg cashmere, displayed as they would be in a vintage armoire at home. As you are absorbed by the story and authenticity, a couturier is tailoring upstairs in the atelier. Rumor has it that YSL was a regular. 7, rue Victor Hugo – 14360 Trouville-sur-Mer. Tel: +33(0)2 31 81 99 27.

Chambre Charme dans le pavillon © L'Auberge de la Source

Chambre Charme © L’Auberge de la Source

Where to lay your weary head? L’Auberge de la Source. This Norman family farmhouse turned hotel (4* since 2012) affords a charming setting – even under the rain – with its quaint 15 rooms and cottages, stone fireplace and tile floor, lush gardens and trout filled stream. Nestled (so much so that network service is scarce) in the hillsides between Trouville-sur-Mer and Honfleur,
L'Auberge de la Source © Tristane de la Preslethe peaceful surroundings and hospitable personnel tending the discreet antique “registration desk” make for a b&b type experience, with the comforts of hotel amenities. The surprise welcome crème-brûlée plus cider brought to our room convinced us to stay for dinner. The menu of the day featured fresh shrimp served with a glass of Meursault for aperitif, homemade foie gras, sole meunière and roasted Camembert (a local favorite). The feather mattress and down pillows were by then welcome. Home-style breakfast with crispy croissants and fluffy breads served by the fire kicked-off our Sunday. Since the owners also manage the nearby Relais & Châteaux, La Ferme Saint Siméon & Spa, a massage onsite by a therapist from the sister property can be arranged. Chemin du Moulin – 14600 Barneville-la-Bertran. Tel: +33 (0)2 31 89 25 02.

N2S: remember the family suite with two twin beds when our little one is older

 P1010748 P1010738

Sunday morning, a stroll through the fish market in Trouville is pure delight. Grab a rare bar stool and table to sample a plate of fresh shrimp plus oysters with a glass of white wine at PillerSaiter, one of the few fishmongers on site to possess its own boats and fish locally, as you watch passersby. Bliss! You can bring back the fish soup (it deserves its legend!) made à la façon Jeanette to prolong the pleasures at home with croutons and grated cheese. Boulevard Fernand-Moureaux. Trouville-sur-Mer.

For lunch, we headed to the traditional bistro Chez Marinette across the street. Their rotisserie is a work of art (works wonders for the carré d’agneau or andouillettes) and PillerSaiter supplies the fish. The service is witty and the atmosphere warm. The upstairs boasts a small balcony with a table for two – and prime views on the market, seaport and strip. I smiled as I overheard a local say that on her birthday a bouquet of flowers waited at her regular table. 154-156, bd Fernand Moreaux. 14360 Trouville-sur-Mer. Tel: +33 (0)2 31 88 03 21. The next door Annexe and Le Central restaurants are part of the same group – for next time.

Street art near Trouville © GEGA, August 2012

Street art near Trouville © GEGA, August 2012

PS: it goes without saying that when the sun shines, a stroll and nap on the beach in Trouville are in order. The seafront homes are beautiful (be on the look out for details), and the boardwalk is less of a fashion runway.

On the drive home, I turned to my better half and said “How French of me, always thinking about food!”

Tried it. Loved it. Shared it.

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