Event destination: Honfleur & Deauville

Not far from Paris are the small coastal cities of Honfleur and Deauville, two places worth visiting. Explore the byways and shops of Honfleur, an old maritime town whose 17th-century buildings escaped the destruction of World War II. Victor Hugo, who called Honfleur “a ravishing port full of masts and sails, crowned with green hills and surrounded by narrow houses,” would still find it familiar. French tourists fill the spider web of cobbled streets, ambling past town houses – some in red brick, some in gray stone, some with shingled facades -that sport copper lanterns or wooden signs advertising candle and soap stores. Almost every lane seems to turn up some romantic hideaway or hole-in-the-wall. Just as abundant are galleries and exhibition spaces – no surprise in a town that begs to be painted. Find the Église Ste.-Catherine, whose exterior of wooden boards and shingles was transferred to canvas by Raoul Dufy. Now it adorns postcards that fill souvenir shops. Inside, the church rises to a curved wooden ceiling that looks like the upside-down hull of a boat. And then there is Deauville. The vibe morphs from the artistic to the aristocratic as you make the 20-minute drive or bus ride along snaking, tree-lined roads from Honfleur to Deauville. After crossing the Touques River, you emerge in an impeccable town of Norman mansions: elegant Old World half-timbered houses with Wooden balconies, Queen Anne-style protrusions, steep A-frame roofs, and witches’ hat turrets. It could easily be some storybook village if it weren’t for the Louis Vuitton shop and the Lancel boutique with its 900-euro Adjani handbags. Coco Chanel opened her first shop in Deauville, Which morphed from fishing village to luxury resort under the guidance of the Duke of Morny, a half-brother to Emperor Napoleon III. There are many agencies that can help you with your events in France (follow the link for The Grenouille, one of the best) and to make the most of your stay in Honfleur and Deauville.