"Honfleur - the Normandy" Honfleur by MikeAtSea
Honfleur Travel Guide: 106 reviews and 332 photos
The picturesque seaside town of Honfleur is situated at the Seine estuary, opposite Le Havre. Honfleur boasts a long, rich history and seafaring tradition. Back in the 15th and 16th centuries, it was from here that the first voyages left for Canada and the New World.
The whole town is virtually an outdoor museum, full of half timbered houses and cobbled streets. One of Honfleur’s most characteristic sites is the Old Port with its tall narrow houses, their wooden façades topped by slate roofs. In the 19th century, Honfleur attracted a steady stream of artists, among them many Impressionists who took their inspiration from the town’s picturesque setting.
Honfleur’s native son, Eugène Boudin, an early Impressionist painter, has a museum named in his honour.
With its unique attributes, Honfleur today is one of the most popular vacation spots in northern France. The town is centred on the Old Port, which still emits a seafaring atmosphere. Ste-Catherine’s Church and its freestanding bell tower dominate the harbour’s northern corner. The church was built from wood during the second half of the 15th and the early 16th centuries after its stone predecessor was destroyed in the Hundred Years’ War. The vaulted roof that looks like an overturned ship’s hull emphasizes the fact that the structure was created by local shipwrights.
The town’s narrow, cobbled streets have to be explored on foot.
Museums, shops, cafés and restaurants add to the attractions in this outdoor museum setting.
Honfleur has to be explored on foot. Following are major sights you should not miss during your exploration of the historic centre:
The imposing wooden structure was created by the town’s
shipwrights between the 15th and 16th centuries. The vaulted roof
resembles an overturned ship’s hull. The bell tower stands apart from
the church, both for structural and for safety reasons.
This 16th-century building with a tiled roof and corner turrets is the
sole remainder of the former fortifications.
Dating from the 17th century, the two huge warehouses served as
storage for the salt needed by the fishing fleet to cure its catch of
herring and cod.
Musée Eugène Boudins
Named in honour of the early Impressionist painter born here in
1824, the museum has a large collection of Impressionist paintings
Located in the former church of St-Etienne, this small museum
features a display of ship models, carpenters tools and engravings.
Museum of Ethnography and Norman Folk Art
Located next to the Marine Museum, the exhibits occupy a couple
of houses and a former prison dating from the 16th and 17th
Honfleur offers the opportunity of an excursion to the most important locations involved in the historic events of 1944. Operation Overlord, as the D-Day landings were code-named, involved the largest military operation in history. In the early morning of June 6, swarms of Allied landing craft hit the Normandy beaches and tens of thousands of soldiers stormed ashore, ready to attack the German lines.
Colleville is the site of the American Cemetery. The majority of the nearly 10,000 Americans killed at Omaha Beach are buried in this 170-acre cemetery on land given to the United States by France as a token of their gratitude. Here 9,386 marble crosses and Stars of David stand in perfect alignment on a plateau above the beach. A memorial contains the Tablets of the Missing, and a map outlines the battle sites of the Normandy Beaches.
Another point of interest along the D-Day landing areas is the small seaside town of Arromanches that features an important museum dedicated to the landing operation. Here one can view models and films that re-create the entire operation along the D-Day beaches as well as illustrate the importance and logistics of Port Winston. A short distance off shore, remnants of the artificial port can still be seen. These war relics are a testimonial to an extraordinary industrial and maritime achievement.
Located in a 19th century chapel and two modern extensions, this museum is named after Honfleur’s most famous painter... more travel advice
Built in 1681 to replace the town’s original harbour, Vieux Bassin (Old Dock) with its boats, quays and signature tall,... more travel advice
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