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A Week in
8 Days, 7 Nights (including one en route)
AUGUST 8 to AUGUST 15, 2016
3 days of racing at Deauville and Clairefontaine
Morning training and farm visits in Normandy
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'll 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 ½ hours, and the remainder of the day is free for adjustment and your own activities.
We always advise keeping active if it's your first day over from the U.S. Take some time to stroll a bit, to get a feel for the town and for being in France. You're likely to discover a shop or a sidewalk café you'll want to come back to later. One of the best things about Deauville is its pedestrian-friendliness, and independent on-foot exploration is always richly rewarded.
Deauville is sometimes referred to by Americans as the "Saratoga of France", and it could just as easily be called the "Del Mar of France", because in addition to its seaside ambiance 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 sister The Normandy are the places to stay in Deauville. Channel-facing, but set back from the bustle of the beach, they 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; at www.lucienbarriere.com/en/luxury-hotel/Deauville-Royal-Barriere/home.html you can learn more about the hotel.
A buffet breakfast is included each morning of our stay.
|We'll get an early start this morning and walk over to the nearby yard of a locally-based trainer. Unlike most places in France, the bulk of the training here is done at the racecourse on grass, sand, and artificial gallops inside the main course. We'll go in with the trainer for a close-up look at the action.
Later we'll enjoy another of the great things about Deauville. 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 main Thoroughbred breeding area and the home of many of its leading farms. (For this reason, by the way, Deauville is "twinned" with Lexington and Ireland's Kildare in the Sister City program.)
We'll visit two farms -- a major stallion-standing operation and a smaller family-run concern. At some point we'll fit in lunch at a restaurant out in the country and soak up a little bit more of the ineffable Normandy vibe.
We'll be back to town mid-afternoon, with time for a freshening. A no-host dinner at one of our favorite Deauville eateries will be available for those who want to join in. If you're a gaming afficionado, tonight's as good a night as any to begin your assault on the big Deauville Casino. Also operated by the Barriere Group, it's only a block away from the Royal. Be sure to take your passport.
|We're doing nothing racing-related, but today might be the day that ends up having the most indelible memories for you.
72 years ago on the coast not far from Deauville the Americans, British, and Canadians conducted the great cross-Channel invasion that came to be known as "D-Day". The landings were made along a 50-mile front of the Channel coast and involved over 4,000 ships and hundreds of thousands of men. If it hadn't succeeded they might still be speaking Russian around here today.
We'll visit various significant locations relating to the operation, 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 dramatic 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 American Cemetery – actually official U.S. territory – where our dead from the entire Normandy campaign are buried. It's a place difficult to visit without emotion. You'll 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 in the evening.
|Nothing organized is on tap for this morning, so it's a good time to relax and/or do some more wandering around Deauville. Most days there's a market in the square to the east of the Place Morny, and further on in that direction is the pleasure boat harbor that separates Deauville from Trouville -- which is also an enjoyable strolling area, although somewhat busier than Deauville. From near the entrance to the Bassin des Yachts on the Deauville side, you can catch a small boat across to Trouville and back.
Another idea for the morning is a walk on the beach. The tidal range is very large and the difference in mood between high and low is remarkable. At low tide the beach is several hundred yards wide. The water can be chilly and swimming is probably better left to the hotel pool, but the shelling is quite good. Walk west -- to the left, facing the water, from the hotel -- and this will take you away from the most populated areas of the beach.
In the afternoon it's time for racing at Clairefontaine, the second and more casual of Deauville's two racecourses. Major events are not run here, but a couple of days a week Clairefontaine conducts the sport in a delightfully relaxed way. On past trips our group members have thoroughly enjoyed it. The course is beautiful -- flower-bedecked and surrounded by low rural hillsides. It's French country racing at its very best. We'll organize transport.
Over at the sales grounds, next to the main Deauville Racecourse and about a ten-minute walk from our hotel, the yearlings will have been arriving in advance of the big sale which starts on Sunday evening. Late afternoon today might be a good time to get your first look at some of the youngsters. This is France's most important yearling sale.
We'll put together a booking at another of Deauville's wonderful restaurants tonight, open to those who want to subscribe on a no-host basis.
|Another Cote Fleurie treat this morning.
We'll motor in the opposite direction from Thursday and 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 return to Deauville independently. Back home, this is the first day of the holiday weekend racing at the main Deauville course, and the feature is scheduled to be the Group 2 Prix Pomone, a mile-and-a-half test for older fillies and mares. There will be a couple of interesting Listed races in support.
We'll have lunch in the Restaurant Panoramique 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.
Next door, the activity level will be building up for the yearling sale, which begins after the conclusion tomorrow's racing. After racing, you might want to spend some time on the sales grounds. Horse people from all over Europe come in for this sale, and this is a good opportunity to rub shoulders, make contacts, and learn more about European racing and breeding.
If there's a demand, we'll also have identified a time and a place to meet up tonight for a no-host dinner at one of Deauville's best restaurants.
Another lazy or active morning – your choice – is followed by our highlight day of racing at Deauville-la-Touques. We'll again have lunch in the restaurant overlooking the course.
This is a very important race day in France, and features the richest single race of the Deauville season -- the Group 1 one-mile Prix Jacques le Marois, always a major factor in the divisional championship. It's also been a good indicator of European success in the Breedres' Cup Mile. Six Perfections accounted for both races in the same year as did Goldikova, and the great Miesque doubled the Marois with each of her two BC Mile wins. There will be a strong undercard.
Après-la-course, the yearling sale begins. You'll probably want to drift over and see at least a few of the lots go through the ring.
Tonight will be our last evening together as a group. 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 may want to linger over a final Calvados or two in the bar back at The Royal.
|Trés desolé, but the organized itinerary ends after breakfast and checkout this morning. Time to move on for voyagers that have to.
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. If you're extending at the Royal, you'll get your transfer on your actual departure day.
Bonne chance and travel safely.
Today is the Feast of the Assumption, the last day of the holiday weekend, and if you're of a mind to stay over there will be another good program at Deauville-la-Touques. The headline event will be be the Group 2 Guillaume d'Ornano, a mile and a quarter race for 3-year-olds which was given a substantial purse boost in 2011 and has attracted strong fields ever since. We can book spots for you in the Panoramique, but this must be done in advance.
This trip will close on June 8, 2016. 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 and get to know both better, and spend more time at your own favorite restaurant or sidewalk café. Play some golf. There is racing for two weeks before and two more after our dates here, and either Deauville-la-Touques or Clairefontaine is open most days. And there are many other options available for those who would like to explore Normandy more extensively. The Royal concierges are extremely 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 want more time. This is the height of the season in Deauville, and the hotels in town are extremely busy – particularly so during Sale Week. The farther in advance you let us know, the more likely we are to be able to accommodate you.
ITINERARY & PRICES:
The itinerary includes:
itinerary does not include:
- Six(6) nights lodging at the Royal Hotel in Deauville. (*See below for room options.)
- Breakfast each morning as indicated.
- Three(3) escorted days' racing: two(2) at Deauville-la-Touques on August 13 and 14, and one(1) at Clairefontaine on August 12, including transportation to and from the racecourse, course admission, and race card. Restaurant seating at Deauville-la-Touques; no reserved arrangements at Clairefontaine but we don't recommend any: parking spots are readily available and there are two restaurants and plenty of walk-away food.
- Lunch on four(4) days: at Deauville Racecourse August 13 and 14, in the country August 10, and during the D-Day excursion on August 11.
- Morning training at the racecourse.
- Excursion inland into Normandy with visits to farms, August 10.
- Full-day excursion to the D-Day landing beaches and associated sites, August 11.
- Partial-day Honfleur excursion, August 13.
- 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. (Supplemental charge for Orly airport transfers)
- 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 the 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 airline baggage limitations.
- Costs related to obtaining passports or visas.
- Travel insurance.
- Alcoholic beverages, except during the "Welcome" cocktail hour on August 9.
- 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 their incoming and outgoing transfer drivers and anyone who provides them with personal assistance, including special assistance by hotel staff. Please note your principal escort does not expect and will not accept a gratuity.
$3,755 per person, based on double occupancy (twelve or more travelers)
$3,855 per person, based on double occupancy (ten or eleven travelers)
$3,955 per person, based on double occupancy (eight or nine travelers)
$1,675 single supplement, regardless of group size.
*The above rates are based on accommodation in a comfortable "classic" category 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 $605 per person, (based on double occupancy), to the cost of the trip and single travelers must add $1,205 to the single supplement.
We have had a mix of "classic" and deluxe sea-facing rooms chosen by travelers on all 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 always been happy too. Please let us know your choice no later than the Closing Date of the trip.
*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. Single travelers on this trip will be accommodated in the same type of room as the double occupancy travelers, depending on the room category chosen.
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 $ = 0.917 Euro // 1 Euro = 1.09 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 with us.
- Arrangements at Deauville-la-Touques on August 15 or any other days: Please inquire with us.
*The 2016 racing calendar is not finalized as of November 1, 2015. In the unlikely 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. Monday, August 15 is a holiday and the last day of a three-day weekend, so traffic is likely to be heavier than normal. 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. You may want to consider spending a night near your airport and taking a flight on the following day.
*This trip is designed for eight(8) to sixteen(16) people. We will make every effort to operate this trip as Deauville is our favorite, 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.
Photos courtesy of the Deauville Tourism Office, Kay Minton, and Loren Hebel-Osborne
View the Itinerary for our other 2016 trips:
For May (Germany), click here
For June (England), click here
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