Strolling the Trouville-Deauville Boardwalk

IMG_3313Strolling down the boardwalk in Trouville on the beach in Normandy is like stepping back in time. On June 6, 1944 the Normandy beaches were ravaged during the famous D-Day Landing, yet fortunately for my French family, pockets of the coastline were spared from the bombings. La Promenade des Planches, built in 1876 of an exotic wood that resists heat and cold, endures another kind of beating. The faded, grey boardwalk has withstood the tantrums of the skies, tempest of the sea, and the trampling feet of millions of tourists.

From the boardwalk, on your left, the ocean calls. White foaming waves wash onto a beach DSCN1474_copywhere children build sandcastles and fly kites while young adults shoot across the sand on colorful char sails. Children and adults alike kick footballs into faded nets, dive after volleyballs in the sand and smack tennis balls on the red clay courts. Proud owners of the beach houses lean against the white huts trimmed in blue and bake in the afternoon sun like gingerbread in an oven.

Queues form in front of the ice cream, crepes and waffle stands. Tables from the outdoor cafés spill onto the walkway. Gold, magenta, and turquoise kites dance across the skies. The steady rhythm of the waves crashes against the horizon, where only the bravest souls dare to wade in the frigid water. The beach is a beehive of activity.

DSCN1441_copyIf you look to the right, it’s as if time stood still. Imposing half-gabled, eighteenth century mansions line the seafront, casting shadows, looming as if guarding the coast from another invasion. My dream is to be able to walk through one, to creep up the spiral staircases and peek into the alcoves and corner niches.

The juxtaposition of past and present creates a stunning contrast. I cringe when tourists pull out iPhones. Why would anyone want to connect in artificial cyberspace, when the reality of the beach offers a feast for one’s senses?

DSCN1471_copyBenches beckon beach goers to sit for a spell, to people-watch and admire the ocean. I used to identify the passersby nationality by their fashion choices. Svelte Parisian women wore tight fitting designer skirts and even skinnier stilettos. The British donned bonnets and cardigans with sturdy footwear. Americans sported baseball caps and tennis shoes.

Now that the old-fashioned, canvas Converse high top has made a comeback worldwide, national identity is harder to decipher. Styles of dress have blended, at least with the younger generations.IMG_0340_copy

A stroll down the walkway fills me with a sense of timelessness. Long after I am gone, the next generations will continue to promenade on the boardwalk of Trouville-Deauville.

Posted in family, inspiration, relationships, social view.

19 Comments

  1. Pat, I had honestly never thought of the Normandy beach as anything other that a battleground. It’s really wonderful for me to realize that it’s full of the vacation joys that only the beach can bring. Enjoy your time there.

    • Great to hear from you, Connie. Normandy is amazingly beautiful in a ray of sunshine (although, yes, it does rain a lot.)
      And the Normands are hardworking and resilient.

  2. Simply Lovely Sis!! it is high time I make some plans to return. Love this line…..”Why would anyone want o connect in cyberspace, when the reality of the beach offer’s a feast of one’s senses?” Keep smelling the roses in life and writing about them so we readers can be reminded! Love you Sis!

  3. What a beautiful place this looks to be, Pat — restful, scenic, and great for people-watching!! I love how you’ve given us a new way of looking at something that most of us probably only thought of in connection with the war. I’m glad it’s having such a grand resurrection!! By the way, I have a few pairs of Converse, but no high-tops. Yet!!

    • Normandy, of course, holds a special place in my heart especially since I married a Normand. It is filled with rolling green hills, beautiful beaches and important history.

  4. This place looks amazing! My father-in-law fought there. I’d love to go through one of those historic mansions. Even if the walls couldn’t talk, the aura would be hair raising, no doubt.

    • I would love to hear your father-in-law’s story. He has my utmost respect. I will never forget the profound impact of standing on the landing beaches and visiting the Normandy American cemetery.

    • There are tiny pockets of Normandy that remained untouched by battle, but major cities – Le Havre, Caen, Rouen – were completely destroyed and have since been rebuilt.

    • If you ever have the opportunity, you must visit Normandy. The people are welcoming, the food luscious, the countryside splendid, the beaches beautiful and the history fascinating.

  5. Well done Pat, this is a beautiful review of Normandy’s boardwalk 🙂 I love the way you have transformed my personal picture of bloodshed and human disaster, helping me to visualise how positives can grow from such carnage. Life goes on. Remembering those who fought is a must. Making the most of each day by the sea in the annual pockets of European sunshine is also something that we all need for our wellbeing. Humans have an immense capacity to create and recreate new memories, whilst their environments continue to resonate with vibrations of the past. Love Rach xxx

    • Oh Rach, your comments are exquisite. I just love your last line “Humans have an immense capacity to create and recreate new memories, whilst their environments continue to resonate with vibrations of the past.” The history is so rich in Normandy that it is almost as palatable as the fine food. Love sharing our thoughts with our cyber coffee every Sunday morning.xxx

      • Hehe cyber coffee 🙂 fellow wordsmiths xx miss ya Pat! Hugs, Rach xx

  6. Pat, you have an incredible way of bringing the reader right into the moment with you. From your description I get a very good sense of what it feels like to be there. I have never been to Normandy but I so want to visit.

    • Helene, I hope you will one day have the chance to visit Normandy. It is beautiful especially in a ray of sunshine and the food is fabulous.

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