Touques, discovery tour in 1 hour

Pedestrian Circuit

Touques has known a strong dynamism thanks to its port, whose apogee took place during the low Middle Ages between the XII and the XVI centuries. This port was used for the travels of the Dukes and Kings to go to England, as well as for the exploitation of salt, source of development for the city. Up to 52 salt works were present in the town of Touques during the 13th century.
Much later, the Paris-Deauville railroad line was built to serve the new seaside resorts of Trouville and Deauville. In 1863, the Touques River was diverted to serve the new seaside resorts of Trouville and Deauville, thus causing the disappearance of its port.
Town of yesterday and today, Touques reveals its medieval heritage to those who linger there.


2 km
The Place Lemercier has always existed. Fairs and markets punctuated the life of Touques from the 12th century.
The current covered market reminds us that there were beautiful medieval covered markets built in the 15th century. For five centuries, they were the site of the weekly Saturday market - which was considered to be very important with poultry, vegetables and other goods - and three annual fairs. These halls belonged to the Bishops of Lisieux who taxed their occupation until the Revolution. They were parallel to the main street and consisted of two naves separated by eleven bays, crossing the entire square almost edge to edge.
In 1854, considering their advanced state of dilapidation, the Prefect ordered their destruction. The municipality of the time was opposed to it and a fight of several decades was engaged. Nothing will be done, they are destroyed in 1910. It was not until 1996 that Touques found its covered market, which was enlarged in 2017.
Place Lemercier
City Hall
The disappearance of the port of Touques in 1863 plunged the city into a long and slow period of economic desertification. It is only in 1914 that a new town hall is built, of neoclassical type, dominated by its monumental clock and supported by superb colonnades. The financing of this building put a strain on the public budget, which earned it the name of "Golden Town Hall". Fortunately, in the middle of the 20th century, Touques gradually got back on its feet and its Town Hall became a symbol of the will to regain an importance, a time forgotten.
7 place Lemercier
Salt loft and its manor
Built along the Douet Mont-Blanc, later called the Ruisseau des Ouïes, the Grenier à Sel (Salt Store) housed the production of the salt factories, which were once numerous in the Touques valley; an ideal location for the boats loaded with salt to reach. Once the salt was collected by boiling a brine obtained by washing sand impregnated with sea salt, it was distributed two days a week to the inhabitants and to certain businesses in the surrounding towns.
The Manor House, a Louis XIII style building, has been listed in the Supplementary Inventory of Historical Monuments since 1969 for its facade mixing Caen stone, black and white flint, its steeply pitched roof and its first floor chimney. This building from the middle of the 17th century was the headquarters of the royal administration and housed a saltworks controller and a quests clerk, both employees of the Ferme Générale (the privileged company responsible for collecting indirect taxes). They were in charge of supervising the production of the salt workers and collecting the salt taxes called "quart-bouillon" for the king.
From 52 salt works in the 13th century, only 12 remained in the 18th century. Thereafter, the place was used for the first municipal councils of the commune.
The whole of the Salt Store and the Manor are the object of a great project of rehabilitation by the commune of Touques.
41 rue Louvel et Brière
Monrival Pier
Touques was the last village before the estuary and took advantage of this privileged location to create a port that contributed to its fame and fortune, from the 12th to the 19th century. In the Middle Ages, Touques was the recommended port of call for landing in the Kingdom of France. The village was frequented by Dukes and Kings, who frequently made the journey between England and Normandy; they disembarked at the port to stop off at the Château de Bonneville-sur-Touques, fortified at the request of the Scandinavian Viking Rollon, the first Duke of Normandy.

Touques boasted a bustling commercial port on the former Quais Saint-Pierre and Quais Saint-Thomas, now renamed Quai Monrival. At its peak, the port covered almost 12,000 m². Its trade was almost entirely focused on exports (wood, salt, apples, cider and calvados) delivered to far-flung destinations such as Brazil and Canada. Much less important was the import of materials such as tiles, slates and stone. From the 16th to the end of the 18th century, an average of 250 to 300 boats a year entered the port of Touques. In the 16th century, the flagship of the Normandy fleet was the "Saint-Pierre", a 500-ton vessel (33 containers) with a crew of 250.

The gradual silting-up of the Touques River, the rebuilding of roads, the detour of the Touques in 1863 to facilitate the construction of the railway line to Deauville, and the building of a bridge at Trouville in 1862, all upset the economic balance and led to the disappearance of the port of Touques in 1863.
Haras de Meautry
It is one of the most famous stud farms in France. The Haras de Meautry, formerly Meautrix, was created in 1875 by two brothers, Alphonse and Gustave de Rothschild, around a manor dating from the 16th and 17th centuries. At the time, the entire estate covered twelve hectares. Today, it covers almost one hundred hectares.
The manor house, the monumental gate and the roofs of the adjoining buildings have been listed as historical monuments since 1933. The garden was designed by Page Russel, a British gardener and landscaper.
Many remarkable horses are bred there, including some legendary champions, who won the prestigious Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. Passed on to its descendants, this land is that of the Rothschild family's galloping stud and belongs to Edouard de Rothschild, President of France Galop.
The stables, then outbuildings of the manor, were given to the City of Touques by Baron Guy de Rothschild and were restored to be transformed into art studios, today the main component of the famous Touques Arts District.
9 rue de Meautry
Saint Peter's Church
The existence of this church is mentioned as early as 1026 in an act of Richard II, but the building, preserved today, cannot go back beyond the years 1070-1080 under the reign of William the Conqueror, having probably succeeded an older building.
On the outside, the lantern tower, erected after 1125, is octagonal, whereas it is usually square.
Inside, the church has a restored Romanesque nave, dating from around 1100 years ago, reduced to two bays in the 18th century. The crossing of the transept preserves the capitals of the columns with beautiful decorations: quadrupeds, snakes, flat heads. The arcades of the crossing, decorated with birds' beaks, support the octagonal lantern tower, today the only vestige of this architecture. The choir, dating from the 1180's and off-center with respect to the nave, is covered with a barrel vault supported by a double arch, which was quite rare in Normandy during the Romanesque period.
Disused during the French Revolution, the church was desacralized in 1791 in favor of the church of Saint-Thomas, a few steps away. It was almost destroyed and owes its preservation to the Caisse Nationale des Monuments Historiques created in 1840, which undertook extensive restorations the same year. It was used as a warehouse for furniture, firemen's equipment and even oil. In the 1920's, bleachers were installed to make it a theater. Today, the church is the epicenter of the cultural life of Touques where many concerts, conferences and exhibitions take place.
Saint Peter's Square
Built in 1783, the presbytery of the Saint-Pierre church is distinguished by many architectural features that make up its charm: its finials, its brick and stone checkerboard chimney, its carved wooden doors and windows, its stone first floor contrasting with the wooden first floor, as well as the bull's eye on the gable. Shortly after its construction, it lost its function in 1790, when the church was desacralized. Today, it is a place where the creativity of artists is expressed, whose works are exposed to the public.
In season, the garden surrounding the presbytery is adorned with beautiful hollyhocks that decorate the exterior of this timber-framed house, typical of the Pays d'Auge.
8 rue Schaeffer
Old stables
In 1875, Alphonse and Gustave de Rothschild built the Meautry stud farm around a manor house dating from the 16th and 17th centuries. The stables, which were then outbuildings of the manor, were transferred to the city of Touques by Baron Guy de Rothschild and were restored to be transformed into art studios.
Saint Peter's Square
The commercial importance of the port of Touques, as early as the 12th century, justifies the setting up in 1331 of the headquarters of a particular administration: an Admiralty, located near the docks. Its facades and its roof were classified as Historic Monuments in 1967.
The staff is composed of a lieutenant, a prosecutor, a commissioner, two bailiffs, a dock master and a broker. They were responsible for guarding the coast, maintaining order on the docks, where disputes were numerous, imposing fines, controlling traffic and the loading of barges and collecting taxes. The Admiralty recruited, equipped and paid the guards placed in the watchtowers along the coast. The defense of the Touques estuary by the Captaincy N°17, established in Trouville, was very light: no battery, no store.
At the same time, it supervised the fishing and the fisheries established on the Touques. They are free of rights and are transmitted by inheritance. Following the decline in the economic activities of the port, it was abolished in 1786.
Augean houses
The organization of the habitat undoubtedly comes from the progressive installation of houses and farms under the high supervision of the castle of Bonneville-sur-Touques, the powerful fortress which made the glory and the fame of the place.
In the absence of a real urban plan, the alleys, dead ends, alleys, passages under houses (like this one which leads from the wash house to the market) proliferated, creating a labyrinthine tangle.
All along the central street, the adjacent streets and passages, there are still many half-timbered houses that retain their typical Augeron character in Touques. The nearby forest provided the easiest and cheapest building material.
The ordinary houses, with half-timbered walls, are quite narrow, with one or two windows per floor, tightly packed together. They consist of a first floor of stone and three or four floors of wood and cob, and are served by a spiral staircase. The roof covering is made of thatch or wooden slats.
In the Middle Ages, the washhouses sometimes consisted of a simple stone placed on the edge of the river or a simple board and without shelter. They were mainly built thanks to the seigneurial money at the request of the subjects who paid a fee to use it: it was the right of banality. Some wash houses were equipped with fireplaces to produce the ash necessary for the bleaching of the linen, one "washed with ashes" twice a year. A washerwoman brought the laundry to the edge of a stream, rubbed it with ash, rinsed it and twisted it by folding it several times. She would then beat it with a wooden beater to wring it out as much as possible before taking it to the drying place. The laundries or washing places were numerous in Touques all along the stream of the ouïes.
Saint Peter's Square
Saint Thomas Church
Listed as a historical monument since 1926, the church of Saint-Thomas de Touques - formerly called Saint-Etienne - has been enormously altered since its construction in the 12th century, and retains only its original choir.
The church has a Romanesque nave, transformed in the 14th, 17th and 19th centuries, a Gothic choir entirely rebuilt during the Hundred Years War, and a Louis XIV style portal. The chancel has an ancient opening for lepers from the sick bay of Saint Mark and for believers suffering from the plague, so that they could hear mass outside.
The church is named after Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury after his stay in Touques. Thomas Becket served King Henry II Plantagenet as Chancellor of England. Following his appointment as archbishop, he renounced his role as chancellor and publicly opposed the king. Thomas Becket was murdered in his cathedral in 1170, but was canonized in 1173 and the inhabitants of Touques placed their church under his protection. Inside the church, a stained glass window painted in the 16th century represents his assassination. One can also see "bolt holes" in the walls - which were used to put up scaffolding for repairs -, a gigantic crucifix dating from the 16th century, two statues of Saint Gilles (protector of children) and a Virgin and Child.
On the outside, under the roof, "Modillons" representing animal heads were used to hold the cornice. Its bell tower, 21 meters high, is surmounted by a neo-gothic octagonal spire added after the repair of the bell tower in 1870.
Since the desacralization of the Saint-Pierre church, the Saint-Thomas church is the only place of worship in Touques.
Place Foch

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Résidence de l'Horloge
Quai de l'Impératrice Eugénie
14800 Deauville
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Place Jean Mermoz
14640 Villers-sur-Mer
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32 bis avenue Michel d'Ornano
14910 Blonville-sur-Mer
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40 rue du Général Leclerc
14113 Villerville
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20 Place Lemercier
14800 Touques
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Promenade Louis Delamare
(behind the first-aid post)
14800 Tourgéville
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