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|A Week in
8 Days, 7 Nights (including one en route)
AUGUST 9 to AUGUST 16, 2010
6 nights in Deauville
2 to 4 days/evenings of racing at Deauville, Clairefontaine, and Cabourg
Morning training and Normandy farm visits
The Deauville Select Yearling Sale
An Excursion to the D-Day Landing Beaches
Depart the U.S., if not joining the trip from France or elsewhere in Europe.
Arrive in Paris. You will be met at the airport (most likely Charles de Gaulle) and transferred to the Royal Hotel in Deauville on the English Channel coast of France. We can also meet you in Central Paris if you're already there. The transfer will take approximately 2 1/2 hours, and the remainder of the day is free for adjustment and your own activities.
We always advise keeping mobile if it's your first day over from the U.S. You should take some time to stroll a bit, to get a feel for the town and to being in France. You're likely to discover a shop or a sidewalk café you'll want to come back to. One of the best things about Deauville is its pedestrian-friendliness, and independent on-foot poking around is always richly rewarded.
Deauville is sometimes referred to by Americans as the "Saratoga of France". It could just as easily be called the "Del Mar of France", because in addition to its seaside ambience it also fulfills the same function in France that Saratoga and Del Mar do in the U.S.: in August the urban (Paris, in this case) racing circuit shuts down and the horses and everybody associated with them gets out of the city for the month and comes here.
The racing in Deauville dates back to 1864, making it exactly contemporaneous with Saratoga. The Duc de Morny, brother to Napoleon III, brought racing and its associated glamor to this new resort on the Cote Fleurie, one of the first in the world built from the ground up to cater to what was then the newly "discovered" pleasure of sea bathing. The Duc remains much in evidence today: the main square in town bears his name, as does one of the biggest races of the season.
There are two racecourses, and one or the other of them operates most days. Deauville-la-Touques is the primary course, where most of the major racing is conducted. Clairefontaine is much more relaxed and informal, and offers up mixed cards of flat and jump racing.
Late afternoon / early evening today, we'll rendezvous for cocktails at the lawn bar of the Royal to spend some time together and get oriented for our week. It will be a busy one, so a simple first night is a good idea. We'll organize a casual group dinner at a nearby restaurant for those who want company.
THE ROYAL HOTEL: The Royal and her nearby sister The Normandy are the places to stay in Deauville. Channel-facing, but set back from the busyness of the beach, both have justifiable worldwide reputations as first class resort hotels, combining traditional atmosphere, fine service, and a middle-of-it-all location. We prefer the slightly-newer Royal because the rooms are larger. The Royal and Normandy are both operated by the Barriere Group, and you can have a look at their website at www.lucienbarriere.com to learn more about the properties. A buffet breakfast is included each morning of our stay.
A busy and varied Deauville day. We'll get an early start and walk over to the nearby yard of a locally-based trainer. Unlike most places in Europe, the bulk of the training here is done on grass and artificial gallops inside the main racecourse, and we'll go inside for a close-up look at all the action.
Later in the morning and afternoon we can enjoy another of Deauville's great aspects, because in addition to being the "Saratoga" and "Del Mar" of France, it's also the "Kentucky". Just inland in Normandy is the country's principal Thoroughbred breeding area and the home of many of its leading farms. For this reason, incidentally, Deauville is "twinned" with Lexington and Ireland's Kildare in the Sister City program.
We'll visit at least two farms, including a major operation and a smaller private concern, and have lunch at a restaurant out in the country. We'll get back to town mid-afternoon.
Back in Deauville you'll have time for another walk-around, or you might want to head over to the sales complex for a first look at the yearlings being shown for the big sale starting in two days. Polo will also be happening in the infield of the racecourse. Matches are played all week, so if polo is a special interest of yours hopefully you will find some time to enjoy it. Both the racecourse and the sales grounds are a ten-minute walk from our hotel.
We'll have made a booking at another of Deauville's wonderful restaurants tonight, open to those who want to subscribe on a no-host basis. And we'll have set a rendezvous time and place in advance.
Today is a non-racing day, but it might be the one that supplies many of the most lasting memories of the trip for you. Sixty-five years ago not far from Deauville the Americans, British, and Canadians conducted the great cross-Channel invasion that came to be known as "D-Day". It marked the beginning of the final phases of World War II in Europe, and if it had failed we might be speaking Russian on this trip instead of French.
The landings were made along a 50-mile front of the channel coast and we'll visit various significant locations relating to it, on our way passing close by the place from which the Duke of Normandy – soon to be known as William the Conqueror — launched his invasion of England almost a thousand years earlier.
Among our stops will be the Pegasus Bridge at the far eastern end of the front, where British glider-borne troops initiated the day's action at a few minutes past midnight on June 6; Arromanches, near the British beaches where remains of the artificial "Mulberry" harbor are still visible; and of course Omaha Beach, where the resistance was stiffest and the outcome in doubt for much of the day. On the bluff above Omaha is the famous Cemetery – actually official U.S. territory – where the American dead of the entire Normandy campaign are buried. It's a place difficult to visit without emotion, and you will come away very proud of what our fellow countrymen accomplished here.
We'll have a simple lunch at some point during the day and be back in Deauville early in the evening.
A lot to choose from today. You may want to spend most of your morning at the sales complex, where the energy level will be ramping up for the mid-afternoon first gavel. This is France’s most important yearling sale and it’s a good opportunity to mingle with the horse people who have come in from all over Europe and elsewhere.
Racing will also be on in the afternoon at laid-back Clairefontaine. If you can tear yourself away from the sale, we urge you to make a point of getting over there for at least a few races. The course is quite beautiful, heavily planted with flowers and cozied up next to low adjacent hills. It’s French country racing par excellence, and not to be missed. We’ll provide transport to the course for those who want to go.
An Option for this evening: Those interested can regroup and we’ll motor a few miles up the Cote Fleurie to the town of Cabourg for the trotting races. Trot racing is huge in France, and courses devoted to it outnumber flat tracks by a very large margin. It’s a surprising amount of fun if you’ve not been before. Many of the races have the rider sitting right on the horse instead of pulling a sulky, and going very fast indeed. And there’s the usual amount of stride-breaking just when you think you’re about to win or lose your exacta – the betting has a bit of a casino aspect to it.
The Friday evening Cabourg races are very popular, and we’ll have to arrange for this in advance in order to obtain transport and get a decent table in the panoramique restaurant, which serves some of the best food we’ve had at a race track anywhere in the world.
More Cote Fleurie treats today. In the morning we’ll head up the coast in the opposite direction we’ve gone before for a local must – a visit to a Calvados distillery. A brandy made from apples, Calvados is one of Normandy’s most famous agricultural products. We’ll probably have sampled a bit of it already this week, as it’s the traditional ending point for any dinner in this part of France. (And often the lubricant for an extended post-dinner period!) Today we’ll get a chance to see how it’s made and do a little sampling.
We’ll also take in the lovely and historic town of Honfleur. Samuel Champlain set out from here in 1608 to colonize Quebec, and the old port today makes for a highly picturesque walking circuit. Honfleur has long been a favorite artists’ haunt and it was one of the major cradles of Impressionism. The town is packed with interesting shops and galleries and there’s typically a Saturday market.
There will be a choice from this point. Any who want to linger in Honfleur can stay and taxi back to Deauville independently. We’ll get those anxious for racing back home in time to make the early races at Deauville-la-Touques. This Saturday card is always a good one, in recent years featuring two middle-distance events – the Group 2 Pomone for fillies and mares and the Group 3 Gontaut-Brion for older males – plus a couple of Listed races as well. We’ll have access to a restricted area with good viewing and we can book a lunch table for those interested. (Again, this must be done in advance.)
The second session of the yearling sale starts immediately after the racing today, and there’s also polo in the track infield at the same time. This day and early evening is an excellent demonstration of just how difficult it is to do everything there is to do in Deauville.
We’ll also have identified a time and a place to meet up for a no-host dinner at one of Deauville’s best restaurants.
Sun Aug 15
A lazy or active morning – your choice – is followed by our principal day of racing at Deauville-la-Touques. We'll have lunch in the restaurant overlooking the course, and, as the race viewing is excellent from the immediately adjacent terrace, we'll use our table to come and go from for the day.
This is a very important race day. The headliner is the Group 1 Prix Jacques le Marois, the richest one-mile race of the entire European season, and always a major factor in the divisional championship. It's also been a good indicator of European success in the Breeders Cup Mile. Six Perfections and Goldikova accounted for both races in the same year, and the great Miesque doubled the Marois with each of her BC Mile wins. Also on the card is the group 2 Guillaume d'Ornano for 3-year-olds, and several Listed races.
Apres-la-course, there is again polo in the infield and yearlings being auctioned at the adjacent sales grounds.
Tonight will be our last "official" evening together. We'll arrange a nice no-host restaurant booking, and we hope everyone will want to come along. The hard-cores that don't have to leave too early in the morning will want to have a final Calvados or two in the bar at The Royal.
Unfortunately, the organized itinerary ends after breakfast and checkout this morning. Time to move on for those that have to, but we’ve really only scratched the surface in Deauville, so an extension of a day or two more is highly recommended. We’ll provide transport down to Charles de Gaulle airport for your flight home, or into Central Paris if that’s your next stop. And if you’re continuing your journey by train or rental car, we’ll get you to where you need to be for that, too.
Bonne chance and travel safely.
This trip will close on May 24, 2010. Payment in full and all necessary paperwork must be received by us no later than this date to insure that you will be able to travel on the trip.
COME EARLY, STAY LATE:
This itinerary is designed to be full and busy. For those preferring a more leisurely experience, we urge you to consider coming to Deauville earlier and / or staying on awhile after our planned trip is over.
Relaxing in the sea air here has many positives. Walk the town and beach a bit and get to know both better, and spend more time at your own favorite restaurant or sidewalk café. Play golf. There is racing for two more weeks after our dates here, and either Deauville-la-Touques or Clairefontaine is open most days. There are many other options available for those who would like to explore Normandy more extensively. The Royal concierges are well-informed, resourceful, and helpful.
The Barriere Group has promised to accommodate extensions as best they can, but the space is not blocked or guaranteed. Please let us know as soon as possible if you wish to do this. This is the height of the season in Deauville, and the hotels in town are extremely busy. The farther in advance you let us know, the more likely we are to be able to accommodate you.
ITINERARY & PRICES:
The itinerary includes:
The itinerary does not include:
- Six(6) nights lodging at The Royal Hotel, Deauville. (*See below for room options.)
- Breakfast each morning as indicated.
- At least two(2) escorted days' racing at Deauville and Clairefontaine, including transportation to and from the racecourse, course admission, and race card. Racing will also be available at the main Deauville course on one additional day during the trip, and an optional evening of trot racing at Cabourg (which would include dinner) will also be offered.
- Lunch on three(3) days: in the country August 11, during the D-Day excursion on August 12, and at Deauville Racecourse August 15.
- Excursion into Normandy with visits to at least two farms, August 11.
- Excursion to the D-Day landing beaches and associated sites, August 12.
- Calvados distillery and Honfleur excursion, August 14.
- Transfer from Charles de Gaulle airport or Central Paris to the Royal Hotel, Deauville.
- Transfer from the Royal Hotel, Deauville, to Charles de Gaulle airport or Central Paris.
- Welcome cocktails at the Royal Hotel.
- Complimentary racing newspaper each day.
- Accompaniment throughout by a knowledgeable and Deauville-hardened American host.
The Cost of the Trip does not include:
- Airfare to and from the U.S.A.
- The cost of dinner or lunch except on days indicated above.
The Cost of the Trip Is:
- Any charges incurred at hotels other than the basic cost of the room, including but not limited to room service, mini-bar, television or video, restaurant or bar service, laundry or dry-cleaning, business services, golf or other activities, and activities arranged through hotel concierge. (All group members will be required to provide a credit card imprint upon check-in to guarantee payment for any individual charges.)
- Excess baggage charges. Please check intra-European baggage limitations.
- Costs related to obtaining passports or visas.
- Travel insurance.
- Alcoholic beverages, except for the "Welcome" cocktail hour.
- Charges incurred for anything other than what is specified in the "Itinerary Includes" summary above.
- Personal gratuities. As part of our arrangements, we will tip our drivers, farm personnel, and hotel staff on behalf of the group. Group members should appropriately tip anyone who provides them with personal assistance, including special assistance by the hotel staff. Please note your principal escort does not expect and will not accept a gratuity.
$3,775 per person, based on double occupancy (Thirteen or more travelers)
$3,845 per person, based on double occupancy (Ten to twelve travelers)
$3,945 per person, based on double occupancy (Eight or nine travelers)
$1,795 single supplement, regardless of group size. If we're able to consolidate some of the airport transfers, we may be able to reduce this supplement price a bit.
*The above rates are based on accommodation in a comfortable standard room at the Royal Hotel. For travelers wishing more space and a full water view, we have also reserved a number of deluxe, sea-facing rooms. Those selecting this option must add $795 per person, based on double occupancy, to the cost of the trip and single travelers must add $1,615 to the single supplement.
We have had a mix of standard and deluxe sea-facing rooms chosen by travelers on our previous Deauville trips. No one has ever been unhappy with their choice in either case. Those wanting a bit more in their room have felt the extra cost was well worth it, and those preferring to conserve funds for shopping, dining or another bottle of Calvados to take home have been happy as well. Please let us know your choice as soon as possible.
*Please note we have not received final pricing for some minor elements of the itinerary, and therefore the final price of the trip is subject to minor adjustment until we do.
We will attempt to match single travelers wishing to double up and thereby avoid the Single Supplement, however it will always be the single traveler’s decision whether or not to accept a roommate.
Trip prices are subject to change up to thirty(30) days prior to trip departure to reflect fluctuations in currency exchange rates between the United States and the European Union. Dollar prices quoted here are based on the following exchange rate:
1 US $ = 0.667 Euro // 1 Euro = 1.50 US $
- Additional Nights at the Royal Hotel, Deauville, if available: will vary, depending on length of stay, the specific nights chosen, and the room category. Please inquire.
- The Cabourg Trot racing evening (August 13): this will vary also, depending on the number of travelers who want to do it. A good estimate would be $135 per person including transport, racecourse admission, and a nice dinner.
- Lunch at Deauville-la-Touques racecourse on August 14: approximately $110 per person.
*In the event the French authorities alter some of the currently proposed racing dates, some of the activities listed in the itinerary above may be transferred from one day to another.
*Please note the transfer time from central Deauville to Charles DeGaulle airport is approximately 2 ½ hours and can occasionally take longer if you are unlucky with traffic. We recommend leaving Deauville a minimum of six(6) hours prior to your flight departure time. Therefore, we advise a departure time for your flight from Charles de Gaulle be as late in the day as you can make it, consistent with when you want to be back in the U.S.
*This trip is designed for eight(8) to sixteen(16) people. We will make every effort to operate this trip as Deauville is one of our favorites, however we do reserve the right to cancel the trip if it has less than eight(8) subscribers. Should we need to do this, all payments made to Racing-Europe toward the cost of the trip will be fully and promptly refunded.
*You must have a valid passport to enter France.
View the itineraries for our other 2010 trips:
For June (England), click here For November (Argentina), click here
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