Cabourg – Chic beach style on the Normandy coast

Enjoying a sandy beach at Cabourg
Enjoying a sandy beach at Cabourg

Normandy is so close, yet so far. It’s been visited and passed through on many, many holiday occasions. Maybe it’s even been taken for granted that it’s just there. A visit in June with the petite one to the in-laws (who are fortunate enough to have a beautiful house in the Suisse Normande) proved that Normandy has a lot to offer and really is perfect for young families. A 20 minute drive from Brighton to the ferry port in Newhaven, then a relatively quick four hour ferry ride (complete with a small kids play area) and an easy drive on the other side meant we’d definitely do it again.

The trip highlights included a day in Caen (including a visit to Musée des Beaux-arts de Caen and the current Impressionist exhibition ‘Summer at the Water’s Edge’) and a beautiful lunch in the chi chi port of Port-en-Bassin. We of course did some of the famous ‘Normandy D-Day Landing Beaches’ which are stunning and soul searching at the same time. But the place that had the ‘wow’ affect on us was Caboug. It’s a seaside resort with large dash of Golden Twenties style. The architecture is straight off a picture postcard and the beautiful sandy beaches and promenade for strolling lend it a fabulously chic seasidy experience.

Le Grand Hôtel Cabourg (where Marcel Proust once lived)
Le Grand Hôtel Cabourg (where Marcel Proust once lived)

It was the writer Marcel Proust* who helped put Cabourg on the map with his ‘In Search of Lost Time’ (Balbec in the book is Cabourg and he wrote it at the Grand Hotel). It’s only a small town but has huge charm. The early 20th century ‘haute bourgeoisie’ and Parisian aristocracy villas add to the charm and the visiting Parisians were very much in evidence on our sunny visit. The town charmed us so much that we hope to return and spent more time on the beautiful beach and promenading with the Parisians.

The gorgeous beach tents sur la plage at Cabourg
The gorgeous beach tents sur la plage at Cabourg
Cabourg main 'high street' in June (no Starbucks here)
Cabourg main ‘high street’ in June (no Starbucks here)
Checking out the beautiful architecture
Checking out the beautiful architecture
After a busy day trip to Cabourg
After a busy day trip to Cabourg

* I don’t claim to have actually read any Marcel Proust…but perhaps I should because in a Waterstone’s poll in 1999 ‘Remembrance of Things Past’ came out joint second alongside F.Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby as being one of the ‘top novels’ of the century as voted for by 25,000 readers (Ulysses by James Joyce came top)

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