The harbour of Honfleur, full of small boats & yachts, on a beautiful day, under a blue sky.

The call of Honfleur, France

In En-Route, Europe, France, Our Journeys, Trip-Types, World Travel by JanisLeave a Comment

10 years had been too long

It was our last day on our Normandy road trip, and the whole experience had been fantastic, from beginning to end.
The harbour of Honfleur, full of small boats & yachts, on a beautiful day, under a blue sky.

An inspiration for artists, Honfleur

Gary and I were initially going to finish the trip in Alençon, but I was feeling a bit of nostalgia for Honfleur, as it had been ten years since our last visit.

So, we thought what the heck and added an extra day.

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We’d often remember the galettes and cider we enjoyed by the harbour side in Honfleur and was looking forward to experiencing it all over again. Well, that’s exactly what we did, checked in and parked up for the day, we strolled down to the harbour.

A bottle and 2 glasses of Cidre de Normandie served at the edge of the marina of Honfleur, filled with small sailing boats.
Cidre de Normandy
Don’t get me wrong, we always like to try something new, but on occasions, it’s really enjoyable reliving old memories, and this one didn’t disappoint.

Vieux Bassin

Honfleur’s Vieux Bassin is incredibly picturesque, lined with attractive slate-clad buildings peering down onto the harbour, all from differing heights.

The old merchant houses that line the sides of Honfleur's harbour that are now home to bars, cafes & restaurants.

The narrow buildings in the harbour

Even with the hustle and bustle that this popular town brings we found a lovely quayside table. Sat down and soaked up the atmosphere, watched the yachts bobbing up and down in the summer sunshine, sometimes life doesn’t get any better.
A Breton buckwheat galette filled with camembert cheese and sliced potatoes.

A gallette with Camembert and cream

Fully replenished and with a map in hand, we took to the lanes to rediscover this historical town.

A useful guide

We love visiting France and each region so different from one another. I find the DK Eyewitness Guides really helpful in planning a trip and so often find interesting little snippets of info.

Take a peek at this revised Top 10 Pocket Travel Guide and see what you can discover.

Harbour side

Honfleur is brimming with art galleries, boutiques & restaurants; it’s easy to see why this lovely fishing town is so enchanting.

Not only is the Vieux Bassin surrounded on three sides by the striking narrow houses, but nestled amongst them is the Saint-Étienne church, the oldest in Honfleur.

The small Saint-Étienne church on the harbourside, Honfleur's oldest chapel.

Saint-Étienne church, Honfleur

The Ramparts

The Lieutenance which sits at the mouth of the harbour is the only remaining section left from the ancient rampart, as the old harbour was reconstructed to handle the increasing shipping requirements.

The Lieutenance, a historic building a the entrance to Honfleur's old town.

The Lieutenance

Why Not?

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One of favourites ways to kick off our trips is to let Brittany Ferries take the strain, sit back, relax and go with the flow. Enjoy a little bit of France as you sail directly into Caen in the heart of Normandy, or to Le Havre and start your adventure in Honfleur.

Or alternatively jump on Le Shuttle and tour through France under your own steam.

Wooden church

What you must visit while in Honfleur is Saint-Catherine's Church, built entirely of wood by shipwrights. The bell tower was constructed a short distance from the church due to the risk of fire. However, it is quite unusual inside, it feels like a medieval hall, that maybe because it doesn’t have a transept, which is quite rare.

The wooden bell tower of Saint-Catherine's church in the town of Honfleur, Normandy

Saint-Catherine's church tower

The external view of the nave end of Saint-Catherine's church, built of wood, in the town of Honfleur, Normandy

Saint-Catherines - the wooden church

Wash House

There are some really delightful recreational areas in Honfleur, one in particular that we found was by the traditional open-air wash house which is still fed by hillside springs. You can sit and watch the world go by and sneak in a cheeky ice-cream.

Honfleur's ancient washhouse, a communal space under a simple tilled timber roof.

The public wash house

Honfleur has been caught on canvas many times over the years, but its most famous son is the French impressionist Eugène Boudin. There is a museum named after him which house fine arts from various artists including works by Eugène Boudin.
The courtyard in front of the Boudin Museum in Honfleur.

The Boudin Museum

Tempted to?

Discover more of Normandy on a road trip, you'll be amazed how easy it is to tour around by car with. Like us you can create your own adventure and visit Caen, the D-Day Landing Beaches, Alençon, RouenGiverny, the ruins of Jumièges Abbey, Beuvron-en-Auge and Mont Saint-Michel.

Take a peek at the offers at Rental Cars, they cover all budgets and allow you to pick up and drop off at different destinations.

We would return

Honfleur certainly is a lovely town to stroll around day and night, wander amongst its intriguing little lanes and soak up the evening atmosphere around the quay.

A winding, cobbled, lane running through the old town of Honfleur lined on either side by shops & cafes

The quiet lanes

Boats in Honfleur's harbour at dusk with the illuminated carousel and Ferris wheel in the background.

The harbour at night, Honfleur

I’m pleased we returned to Honfleur, but it has become quite a tourist trap, perhaps it was because we visited mid-July.

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Have You?

Visited any little French harbour towns in Normandy, we’d love to know?

Inspired to visit Honfleur?

Does a meal by the harbour side appeal to you? a stroll around the lanes? Admire the galleries and pick up your own memento?

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