The Duke de Morny, brother to Napoleon III, sponsored the construction of the Longchamp Racecourse in 1857, conceived and funded the Paris Grand Prix in 1863 and was responsible for the introduction of Deauville races.
The race courses were laid out and the stands built over 66 hectares on old reclaimed marshland at the foot of green hills. An express train linked Paris with the Trouville station rendering the course accessible to the Parisian public. Thus, the two very first race meetings were held on the banks of the river Touques on Sunday 14th and Monday 15th of August 1864.
The hippodrome at Touques reopened on July 30th 1995 after extensive renovation carried out between racing seasons. This introduced two new features, a restaurant boasting a panoramic view and a new race track.
This new track was soon replaced by a 2000 metre long sand track opened on July 6th 2003. It was used for training and races whatever the weather, even in winter, and helped to preserve the grass courses. Hence, it was possible for the first time in 2003 to schedule race meetings in December and January.
Installed in 1923, the Planches de Deauville (the Deauville Promenade) is a monument in its own right, as well as being a charming place to enjoy a stroll along the water's edge. This wooden boardwalk situated 800 metres from the waves is a must-see for all those with even the faintest romantic leanings, and for film buffs too who flock to Deauville for the Festival du cinéma américain (Festival of American Films). The boardwalk has always been associated with stars and socialites and has been featured in many films, the most famous being Claude Lelouch's Un homme et une femme.
Be sure to check out the names of the stars on the cabins lining the beach!
In the early twentieth century, the project of constructing a basilica to celebrate the recent canonization of St. Thérèse gave rise to heated protests in Lisieux. Those who opposed construction pointed out the number of religious buildings already existing in the town, as well as the uncertain future of the cult of St. Thérèse. They felt that the fervour she inspired, mainly in French soldiers during World War I, would not last.
Nonetheless, construction of the basilica began in 1929. The walls of the basilica and its crypt are covered with mosaics that convey the saint’s message.
A reliquary under the dome contains bones from her right arm.
The architect was told to build “as big, as beautiful and as fast as possible.” Visitors can decide for themselves how well the second instruction was carried out!
During the night of June 5th to 6th, 1944, the bridges of Ranville and Bénouville were captured by the British 6th Airborne Division, whose symbol was Pegasus, the flying horse.
Since 2000, the Pegasus Memorial commemorates the division and its heroic action.
Building on the legacy of the Bénouville Museum, which is now closed, the Pegasus Memorial pays an imposing tribute to memory and history.
The extensive collections on display and a visit to the bridge bring this stirring historical event to life.
Cerza (Augeron Centre for zoological studies and research) is one of the most visited places in Calvados.
It is located north of Lisieux, and the zoo occupies 60 hectares with an impressive variety of wild animals.
The red circuit takes you on a tour of African animals. You will find lions, giraffes, rhinos, panthers, hippos and plenty of monkeys…
The yellow circuit takes you on a tour of wild valley animals, including ultra rare species: Alaskan wolves, bison, white tigers, leopards, tapirs… all living in harmony in this wide enclosed space.
Your entrance ticket gives you access to a 3km train ride safari to discover the park.
Since April 2010, the park now has a 600sqm Tropical Space with reptiles, amphibians and fish.
A guaranteed change of scene.