Exploring Cabourg: the perfect French weekend getaway – a seaside treasure in Normandy
With the sun shining brightly in France lately, good weather can mean a little weekend getaway trip by the sea. Une petite escapade. But where to go? In this article, I will focus my attention on one key destination: Cabourg
Where to go if you only have the weekend and cannot go as far as Italy or la Côte d’Azur?
There are a bunch of interesting possibilities (Bretagne, Mer du Nord in Belgium, Charente-Maritime, to name only a few).
But, I’ll be focusing on one top destination: Cabourg!
Cabourg: the perfect getaway
This seaside town is located in the department of Calvados in the region of Normandie – by the English Channel, plus précisément.
A famous resort spot since the 19th century, Cabourg has seen many important artists and intellectuals fouler son sol over the years.
Both modern and undeniably marked by the elegance of the Belle Époque, this beautiful and energic place has a lot to offer. It’s a perfect discovery for those of you looking for a charming location to spend a few relaxing and entertaining days.
Cabourg et le charme français: a look into the past
Part of the Côte Fleurie (Flowery Coast), Cabourg was a renowned lieu de rendez-vous for the intelligentsias, bourgeoisie, and artists from France and Europe.
This was thanks to Parisian homme d’affaires, Henri Durand-Morimbaud, who decided to build a station balnéaire around 1850.
This idea turned into a successful realization, with such buildings as the Casino and the Grand Hotel as proof.
- The former is still functional today. People visit to gamble, eat at the restaurant, or have a drink on the terrace while enjoying the seafront view
- As for the Grand Hotel, it still welcomes domestic and international guests from everywhere around the globe – just as it used to in the times of genius auteur Marcel Proust, a frequent visitor
Have you read son chef d’œuvre, ‘À la recherche du temps perdu’ ?
The fictional town of Balbec referred to by the narrator throughout the novel is largely thought to have been inspired by Cabourg. (A fun-fact I suggest you use to impress guests at high-brow cocktail parties.)
Picture perfect: the beauty of nature
And the landscape?
Well, a beautiful promenade along the beach, sable fin, seashells, a blue sky (albeit sometimes grey and pluvieux – it’s Normandy after all), elegant villas, and gardens compose the quaint and romantic paysage cabourgeais.
Not too shabby, right?
- Furthermore, you can take the car and visit little towns around Cabourg, such as Dives-sur-Mer. It was from here that William the Conqueror launched his conquest of England in 1066
- In the heart of the town, you can visit the gorgeous Village d’Art Guillaume-le-Conquérant, a historical area with buildings dating back to the 15th century
- If not, Honfleur and the beaches of the Débarquement are travelers’ favorites
Vous avez le choix!
Cabourg today: romantic & busy
Let’s sum it up: Cabourg is sophisticated, elegant, and beautiful.
Sans surprise, then, that the city hosts a popular event where movie stars gather each year in June to celebrate cinema. More précisément, romantic cinema.
As a matter of fact, le Festival du film de Cabourg has been going strong for 25 years, screening movies and awarding prizes to features marked by love, passion and dreams – en bref, all things romantiques.
In a nice clin d’oeil to France’s literary heritage, the statuette offered to the winners is named Swann – a tribute to the books of Marcel Proust.
Apart from the Film Festival, Cabourg is a very active town. It has more than ten jumelage with other municipalities across the world, such as Terracina in Italy or Oussouye in Senegal. Sister-city relationships are an important part of Cabourg’s presence on a global level, despite its small population.
Finally, the Sunday market is a lovely way to enjoy Cabourg. Here you can discover des produits normands. Why not pop along and meet other people – fellow travelers or locals alike.
Alors, convinced? Aside from Cabourg, which other places would you recommend for a quick voyage? We’d love to hear your thoughts and comments in the box below.
All images © Mélissa Serrano.