Cabourg: 5 Ideas For Visiting The Town In The Footsteps Of Marcel Proust
Whether or not you are a fan of Marcel Proust, the seaside resort of Cabourg in Calvados is worth a visit for its historical, natural and cultural heritage. Here are 5 ideas for visits to discover the town and its Belle Époque architecture in the footsteps of the famous writer.
1- The beach
The town of Cabourg in Calvados has been inseparable from Marcel Proust ever since the author of La Recherche evoked it in his novels by renaming it Balbec...
Rest assured, however, that it is not necessary to be a fan of this author and his work to appreciate the charms of this seaside resort in Normandy!
Its beach, its Belle Époque villas, its shops and its restaurants justify in themselves that one chooses this destination, the time of a weekend or more.
With its 4 kilometres of fine sand, Cabourg is very popular with families and sportsmen. Although its beach is nicknamed "the beach of the romantics", it is not reserved for lovers!
2- The Marcel Proust Walk
For eight years, from 1907 until the First World War, Marcel Proust went to Cabourg every summer on holiday.
It was during his walks by the sea or in the bocage that he found the inspiration for writing A la recherche du temps perdu.
To walk in the footsteps of the famous writer, simply take the no less famous Promenade Marcel Proust which overlooks the beach.
With its 3.6 km of seawall, it is the longest pedestrian promenade in Europe and offers a spectacular view of the Normandy coastline.
This promenade also allows you to admire the Belle Époque seaside villas, which are one of the jewels of the local architecture.
3- The Grand Hotel and Casino
It is also on the seafront, "feet in the sand" that Le Grand Hôtel and le Casino de Cabourg stand.
These two buildings, remarkably well preserved, offer a perfect example of the seaside architecture of the Belle Époque.
Failing to stay there, book a table in the large room of the Le Balbec restaurant to enjoy a magnificent panorama over the English Channel.
You will thus be following in the footsteps of Marcel Proust who used to stay at the Grand Hôtel between 1907 and 1914.
On request, you can even visit room 414 of the Grand Hotel, the writer's room restored with a Belle Époque decoration!
4- The Belle Époque villas circuit
Another way to immerse yourself in the atmosphere of the 19th century and Marcel Proust's novels is to follow the circuit of the villas of Cabourg.
Find out more at the tourist office, before setting off to wander the town, map in hand, to discover about thirty typical villas from the Belle Époque.
The bourgeois and aristocrats who had these second homes built competed with each other in imagination to have the most beautiful villa in the city.
The last villa on the tour is the Villa du Temps Retrouvé (formerly: Villa Bon Abri) which now houses a museum dedicated to the Belle Époque and Marcel Proust.
5- La Villa du Temps Retrouvé
This brand new museum dedicated to the writer and the Belle Époque period was inaugurated on 19 May 2021.
In this Villa du Temps Retrouvé, which dates back to 1860, you will be able to admire period furniture on loan from the Mobilier national as well as tapestries created especially for this museum on old models: a real immersion in the Proustian atmosphere!
Finish your visit in style by taking a walk in the villa's gardens. To perfect the illusion of a journey through time and Proust's work, essences cited in In Search of Lost Time have been planted there.