At the beginning of the 19th century, artists were particularly attracted to the coasts of Normandy by the dramatic landscapes, the traditional fishing villages, the sea, and by the exceptional quality and transparency of the light. Before the 1820s, Trouville was still a small fishing village, much less fashionable than nearby Honfleur. It was at the end of the second decade that Trouville was "discovered" by the artist Charles Monzin, and it soon became the preferred summer haunt of painters such as Paul Huet, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Alexandre Descamps and Louis Gabriel Eugène Isabey, as well as celebrated writers such as Gustave Flaubert, Alfred de Musset and Alexandre Dumas. As Vivien Hamilton writes in the catalogue of the exhibition Boudin at Trouville, "The most popular of the summer pursuits was to be the taking of bains d'eau salée, the virtues of which had been extolled in the eighteenth century and the popularity of which was to reach a new height during the Second Empire. Along with already established resorts like Dieppe and Boulogne, Trouville became the summer rendez-vous of the Parisian aristocracy, thereby earning itself the accolade la reine des plages, a title retained for more than half a century" (The Burrell Collection, exh. cat., Glasgow Museums, 1992-1993, p. 49).
Boudin first visited Trouville in 1861 or 1862, and returned there every year throughout his career. During his early visits he stayed in lodgings at 23 rue Farabe in 1864, and from 1865 at 9 rue d'Isly. When his financial situation became more favorable, he and his wife Marie-Anne eventually decided to build their own home. Trouville being too expensive, Boudin chose to purchase a plot of land to the extreme west of Deauville near the dunes. In the autumn of 1884, the couple moved into the "Villa des Ajoncs" or, as Boudin also called it, the "Villa Marinette," where the painter enjoyed many productive summers, and finally came to spend the last days of his life.
Immediately after his first visit to Trouville at the beginning of the 1860s, Boudin started portraying the reine des plages: "What fascinated Boudin at Trouville and Deauville was not so much the sea and the ships but the groups of people sitting on the sand or strolling along the beach: fine ladies in crinolines twirling their parasols, pompous gentlemen in top hats, children and little dogs playing on the sand. In the harmony of the colours of the elegant clothes, he found a contrast to the delicacy of his skies, which always took up at least two-thirds, if not three-quarters, of the picture" (J. Selz, op. cit., p. 57).