View of Honfleur
(a photo by enfantissages)
Honfleur is an amazingly well preserved old coastal and port town in the most eastern part of the Calvados coastline of Normandy. It is an ideal destination for a relaxed and pleasant seaside holiday. The town does not have its own beach as the accumulation of silt from the River Seine has caused the sea to withdraw and today the 18th-century seafront boulevard Charles V is stranded and looks a little surreal. The old harbour of the town is still functioning in a constant struggle against the silt by periodical dredging. At present day it is used only by pleasure craft. The fishermen tie up their boats along the pier where you can buy fresh fish directly from them or their wives.
Honfleur is a very picturesque and romantic town. After the construction of Pont de Normandie it lives a significant commercial progress, being already just a short drive from Le Havre. Although this modern progress the town still keeps its charm and appearance of an old fishing village which attracted many artists during 19th century.
(a photo by marcello14)
The enchanting historic old town of Honfleur is focused around the Vieux Bassin and is the ideal place to start your tour. The narrow medieval streets are flanked by handsome slate-fronted buildings, each one looking a little taller than possible. Each one taken alone has a slightly tottering and ill-assorted outlines, harmonized only on the backdrop of the neighbouring houses. An important city sight is the so called ”Lieutenance” situated at the entrance of the port. Once it was the residence of the King's Lieutenant. The Lieutenance was the major gateway to the inner city since at least the beginning of the 17th century when Samuel Champlain sailed exactly from Honfleur to discover later Quebec.
Another town’s landmark is the church of St Etienne housing today the Musee de la Marine where you can see an interesting collection of model ships and ancient Norman furnishings. Next to the church are located the 17th-century salt stores. Now they are turned into a Museum of the Old Honfleur, exhibiting various artifacts from the every-day life in the city during the past centuries.
Church of Ste-Catherine
(a photo by jimbal)
Honfleur is extremely rich in art galleries and contemporary painters mainly because of its great artistic past. The forerunner of the Impressionism Eugène Boudin was born and worked here. Exactly he taught the young Monet and was often visited by Pissaro, Renoir and Cezanne, who also worked in the town for certain periods of time. The Musée Eugène Boudin d'Honfleur shows a remarkable collection of 53 works by the artist, complemented by various temporary exhibitions and several ethnographic displays. With the same ticked from the museum of Eugène Boudin you can enter the historic wooden church of Ste-Catherine next to it. The entire body of the church and its belfry were constructed mainly of wooden material because of the poverty and the enormous economic restrictions after the exhausting Hundred Years War. The architectural plan strongly differs from the traditional Norman stone churches. It comprises two twin naves with a single balcony. The elegant street behind Ste-Catherine - rue de l'Homme-de-Bois, is an ideal place for plesabt strolls while enjoying spectacular views over the basin, the yachts and towards the city of Le Havre in the distance.
Another interesting sight in the town is the birth house of the famous composer Erik Satie - Les Maisons Satie. The red-timbered building looks almost untouched since the middle of the 19th century when the composer was born here. The house is now a museum devoted to the life and work of Erik Satie.