On a grey September afternoon we decided to visit the Château de Beaumesnil, located in the village of Beaumesnil, Normandy, about 135 kilometres west of Paris. Cited rather grandly in our guide book as Normandy’s answer to Versailles.
From a distance it looked suitably grand but considerably smaller than Versailles. On reflection I think the reference was more about the gardens, which we didn’t get to explore due to the weather, than the Château. From the upstairs windows they looked beautiful; long sweeping avenues interspersed with a lake.
The formal gardens provide an impressive vista from the windows of the château.
Some further research revealed this lawned area was known as a parterre and the formal flower beds were called Jardin des Quatre Saisons or the Four Seasons Garden.
Built in 1640 on the site of a medieval castle, the Château is now considered a French historic monument. Its last owner was a German bookbinder, Hans Furstenburg who purchased the property in 1938. On his death in 1982 the property passed to the Furstenburg Beaumesnil Foundation which is responsible for its upkeep.
Sadly, up close it shows signs of decay although certainly the rooms that are open to the public are light and inviting with some beautiful furnishings. In the basement there is an interesting display of bookbinding techniques reflecting the interest of its last owner.
For further information the official website is: http://www.chateaubeaumesnil.com/en
Years ago my parents spent a year living in Deauville. At the time I was living in London but visited them regularly. So on a recent trip to Normandy Peter and I decided to spend a few hours in Deauville.
The flat sandy beaches of Deauville provide a popular holiday location for Parisians and visitors from all over the globe. Early risers can see race horses getting their sunrise exercise along the beach.
It was a beautiful warm September day but, like many seaside towns in France, many of the beachfront cafes were closed for the season. Thankfully the Bar du Soleil was open and had plenty of customers enjoying the last remnants of summer. We therefore decided to pause on our stroll along “Les Planches” for a drink and a plate of frites. It was a very relaxing and enjoyable hour or so just sitting there watching the world go by.
This boardwalk (Les Planches) was built in the early 1920’s to allow women to walk along the beach without getting sand in their shoes and gowns. The beach cabins along the boardwalk bear the names of Hollywood stars in reference to the film festival (Festival du Cinema Americain) that takes place here each year.
We’d just missed the Deauville Film Festival (not sure if that wasn’t a good thing!) but Deaville was just as grand as I remembered with its impressive sea front properties. I enjoyed our wander down the boardwalk. If only the authorities back home in Perth would make equally good use of our coastline.
Casino Barrière de Deauville, built in 1913 now part of Groupe Lucien Barrière, one of Europe’s largest chain of hotels & casinos
Located on the beach front this 1920’s building is now an exhibition hall and art gallery.