"Honfleur - Quaint Little Traffic Jam" Honfleur by JohnnySpangles
Honfleur Travel Guide: 131 reviews and 447 photos
Honfleur nestles by the side of the Seine estuary in the shadow of the spectacular new suspension bridge, the Pont de Normandie. Once upon a time Honfleur was a quiet little fishing port beloved of the likes of Monet and his tutor Boudin. These two daubers would often nip over from the busier port of Le Havre on the other side of the river, spend all day splashing some paint around in Honfleur and then row home in time for tea.
This was all well and good, and they produced some pretty nifty pictures of rustic peasants and quaint fishing boats that actually looked like rustic peasants and quaint fishing boats…unlike most modern art these days that looks like a piece of string hanging from an apricot when it’s supposed to look like the alienation of the urban utopia as defined within a Kafka-esque nightmare.
Back in Honfleur, however, the trouble really started when the new-fangled steam trains started to arrive from Paris. On the plus side they bought lots of tourists to buy the paintings of Messrs Boudin and Monet, but on the downside they bought lots more artists to paint the town red, blue and ochre. Rather inevitably the Honfleur art market became saturated with unsold, and mostly unattractive, paintings covering every available square inch of gallery space. Another disastrous side effect was that, because the artists had no money to buy fish, the bottom fell out of the smoked mackerel market.
Because of these economic conditions the peasant fishermen moved out of Honfleur and pretty much every remaining inhabitant of Honfluer that was left behind was an artist. Consequently the starving artists would spend their days painting nothing but each other (as both rustic peasants and quaint fishing boats had long gone), trading canvasses and then going home to a meagre supper of a tube of French Ultramarine washed down with some Linseed Oil.
Monsieur Monet’s role in all of this wasn’t totally blameless. Being a shrewd fellow he’d recognised the way things were heading so he’d got on the train and headed off to Paris. By sitting on the platform at the Gare St Lazzare he could knock off a few canvasses on the spot and then flog them to the gullible tourists heading for Honfleur. So by the time they’d got to Honfleur he’d relieved them of their painting spending money.
It wasn’t until the invention of the motor car that trading conditions improved for Honfleur. The number of tourists increased dramatically but, rather than widening the roads and building more car parks, the clever burghers of Honfleur narrowed the roads and painted double yellow lines everywhere.
So these days, if you go to Honfleur, you will find yourself in a slowly moving snake of traffic that winds itself past all the gallery windows. So slow does the traffic move that it gives you plenty of time to spot a picture, hail the gallery owner, haggle a price and have your picture framed and gift wrapped…all without getting out of your car.
Hence why the place has a permanent traffic jam and there’s nowhere to park.
On a more serious note, it has a permanent traffic jam and there’s nowhere to park.
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