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8 Days, 7 Nights (including one en route)
AUGUST 13 to AUGUST 20, 2012
6 nights in Deauville
3 to 4 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 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 one we'll be seeing later this week.
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 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, 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.
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 on grass and artificial gallops inside the main racecourse, and we'll go inside for a close-up look at the action.
There will be time for a freshening back at the hotel, and then early afternoon we'll head back to the racecourse for our first of two scheduled days of major racing at Deauville's principal track.
Today is the Feast of the Assumption, a national holiday in France, and in recent years the racing authorities have made this day an increasingly consequential one. The headline event is projected to 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 2011and attracted a strong field. 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.
You can head back to the hotel at the time of your choosing and at your own pace. Beginning late afternoon, polo will 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.
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.
This morning we 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 main 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.
After a visit at one or two farms we'll have lunch at a restaurant out in the country, and soak up a little bit more of the ineffable Normandy atmosphere.
We'll be back to town mid-afternoon, in time to catch some racing at Clairefontaine, the more laid-back of Deauville's two racecourses. The track itself is quite beautiful, heavily planted with flowers and cozied up next to low adjacent hills. It's French country racing at its best.
Over at the sales grounds, next to the main Deauville Racecourse and about a ten-minute walk from our hotel, the yearlings will have begun arriving in advance of the big sale which starts on Saturday. Late afternoon today might be a good time to get your first look at some of the youngsters. This sale is France's most important yearling market of the year.
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.
We're doing nothing racing-related, but today might be the day that winds up being the most memorable of the trip for you.
Sixty-eight 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.
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 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 of the entire Normandy campaign are buried. It's a place difficult to visit without emotion. You will come away very proud of, and very grateful for, 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.
Another Cote Fleurie treat this morning.
We'll motor out in the opposite direction from yesterday 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 in town there's a card of racing at Deauville-la-Touques. This day's racing has not been a major one in recent years, so we've made no arrangements at the course. However for those wanting another day at the track, we can provide access to a restricted area with good viewing and we can also book lunch in the restaurant panoramique. (This must be done in advance.)
Next door, the activity level will be building up for the yearling sale, which begins after the conclusion of the day's racing. In lieu of, or in conjunction with the racing, you might want to spend some hours on the sales grounds. Horse people from all over Europe come in for this sale, and today 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.
A 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 two Group 1 events lead the card. The Prix Morny, for 2-year-olds at six furlongs, is Deauville's oldest race. Dating to 1865, it's been held here every year since except for two breaks due to the World Wars, and the 2012 running will be the 138th. Last year's winner Dabirsim is one of the favorites for this season's 2,000 Guineas.
Co-feature is the Jean Romanet, a ten-furlong test for fillies and mares. This is one of the races the European authorities have recently added to the calendar for older females, in a so-far quite successful effort to keep more of them in training. It was promoted to Group 1 in 2009. The rest of the program is not set as yet, but traditionally the Group 2 15-furlong Prix Kergolay is part of this day's action, and there is often an additional Group race as well.
Apres-la-course, there is again polo in the infield and yearlings being shown and sold at the adjacent sales grounds.
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 will want to linger over a final Calvados or two in the bar at The Royal.
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.
This trip will close on June 1, 2012. 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 some golf. There is racing for two weeks before and two more weeks 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:
The itinerary does not include:
- Six(6) nights lodging at the Royal Hotel in Deauville. (*See below for room options.)
- Breakfast each morning as indicated.
- At least three(3) escorted days' racing: two(2) at Deauville-la-Touques on August 15 and 19, and one(1) at Clairefontaine on August 16, including transportation to and from the racecourse, course admission, and race card. Racing will also be available at the main Deauville course on one(1) additional day during the trip, August 18.
- Lunch on four(4) days: at Deauville Racecourse August 15 and 19, in the country August 16, and during the D-Day excursion on August 17.
- Morning training.
- Partial-day excursion inland into Normandy with visits to farms, August 16.
- Full-day excursion to the D-Day landing beaches and associated sites, August 17.
- Partial-day Honfleur excursion, August 18.
- 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 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.
- 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.
$3,545 per person, based on double occupancy (thirteen or more travelers)
$3,645 per person, based on double occupancy (ten to twelve travelers)
$3,745 per person, based on double occupancy (eight or nine travelers)
$1,435 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 $735 per person, (based on double occupancy), to the cost of the trip and single travelers must add $1,465 to the single supplement.
We have had a mix of standard 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 $ = 0.741 Euro // 1 Euro = 1.35 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.
- Lunch at Deauville-la-Touques racecourse on August 18: approximately $115 per person, not including alcohol.
*The 2012 racing calendar is not finalized as of December 1, 2011. In the unlikely event the French authorities alter some of the currently proposed racing dates or if feature race dates are changed (moderately more possible), 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 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 Lora Royster
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