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Deauville to Trouville by ‘Bac’ and Dinner at Chez Herve

June 11, 2013

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There was a glimmer of sun yesterday afternoon and I decided to take the bac – a small ferry – that connects Deauville and Trouville across the harbour entrance.

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This is the most direct route from Villa Caprice to Trouville beach and definitely a fun thing to do. Run by a couple of friendly ferrymen, for just €1.20 you can have a little boat ride and get a great view.

After a walk along the beach, I cut up from the Promenade des Planches towards Rue Victor Hugo near where I discovered the RGallery a couple of days ago. It’s a lovely arty area full of galleries, antique and craft shops, shops selling old books and little cafes.

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Window displays reflect the town’s Belle Époque history and I saw some gorgeous lamps and glassware.

I decided to stay in Deauville for dinner and try Chez Herve, the villa owners’ favourite restaurant. It’s just a short walk away via Place Morny to the market area.

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I arrived a little early and was asked in a friendly manner to come back in a few minutes at 7.30 when they opened. Thus I was one of the first people there. I was given a table by the window overlooking the deserted – but still pretty – fish market. It’s a warm and welcoming place. It seemed the chef was also a waiter – but a little later the waiter, who seemed more like a friend who’d dropped by to help, though very efficiently, turned up. I was given a menu and a blackboard of specials put before me.

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I made my choice with the chef’s help. He seemed slightly thrown by my request for wine by the glass and asked if I wanted half a bottle. No, I said, that was too much. He rushed off and came back with a quarter full bottle of white wine. This was an excellent wine, he told me, and poured me a glass. I was slightly uncertain what I could expect but as it turned out, it was indeed excellent and I was charged just €4 for it.

Chez Herve is a remarkably lovely and entertaining place to eat. People came in and went straight through the back to the kitchen. Were they staff? But no, they’d come back and sit down. Everyone seemed to be a friend. Then Monsieur Waiter arrived; a jolly fellow who laughed and smiled and was very helpful. It was interesting to see people come in, order, and then disappear just outside onto the terrace to smoke a cigarette. And later, also between courses. Smoking has become so unfashionable in UK that you’d never see this in a a good London restaurant, but it seemed only to add to the informality of the place. People coming and going, laughing and talking to each other.

If I make Chez Herve sound slightly mad and unprofessional then it’s not my intention; I was merely trying to give colour to the fun aspect of eating there. The service was very good and the food excellent. When my starter – described as Gambas Marinees on the menu – was put before me, it was very much a Wow moment. And it tasted great too. Gorgeous tasty prawns, delightful little courgette mound with an olive rich dressing.

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My main course of St Pierre (John Dory) fish cooked in a saffron sauce with little vegetables was equally good – and also a good-sized portion!

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There was a wonderful choice of desserts but I was far too full to indulge and finished my meal with just a coffee. I then strolled back through the still light but quiet streets to Villa Caprice and sat reading on the balcony for a while in the warm evening air.

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4 Comments
  1. Jane Coles permalink

    Really enjoying this trip to France. Had forgotten just how brilliant the food was and I’m not even put off by the weather. Amazing to realise just how close France is and how, after a such short journey, you find yourself in a whole other world where living in the moment – like eating good food and drinking good wine! – is what life is all about. Great travel writing! Thank you!

  2. Joy permalink

    Have you had a decent coffe yet, very easy to have good coffee in London even easier in amsterdam, Italy are the masters but France???

    • Yes I sgree with you. Great coffee in London these days and of course Italy and Amsterdam. Coffee here not great. Had my best breakfast coffee this morning – post to come later.

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