Exploring the enchanting charms of Honfleur: A Delightful Coastal Gem
From Le Touquet, we travelled a short two and a half hours to Honfleur. The first campsite we tried did not accept motorhomes because the field was flooded (strange, we hadn’t seen much rain further up). Anyway, we managed to find a site outside the town. La Briquerie Camping, from where we took a short bus ride into Honfleur the next day, Saturday.
The Normandy region of northern France is home to Honfleur, a picturesque town with an old port and harbour. It sits on the southern bank of the Seine estuary, just across the water from Le Havre.
A large traditional market was held on Saturday, and it was extremely crowded. The stalls were full to the brim with freshly baked bread & pastries, local produce and a catch of the day from local fishermen. Lots of clothes, shoes and jewellery too, which I enjoyed browsing (not so much Ray).
People were visiting from a large cruise ship docked in Le Havre and a river cruise ship docked in the port. Had we realised, I think we would not have visited until Monday. Nevertheless, we still managed to get a nice spot on the harbourside for a 3-course special lunch menu. Among the nice things about this city is how many restaurants and cafes there are.
The old, narrow cobbled streets lined with ancient houses and other buildings were interesting to wander around, although a little hard going with my current mobility. A few stops along the way for drinks, coffee, and lunch helped. Besides people-watching, we could also enjoy the French atmosphere.
There are many attractions in Honfleur, but the harbour is one of the best. As a result of the demolition of existing shoreline fortifications and the expansion of the existing port, the Vieux Bassin Harbour was established in 1681. Against the calm water, the preserved historic townhouses are beautifully reflected.
Another attraction we found fascinating is St Catherine’s Church which is the largest wooden church in France. It was built by sailors in the 15th century, replacing an older stone church which was destroyed during the Hundred Years’ War. With the limited resources available at the time, they used wood from the nearby Touques forest.
There is nothing better than observing the stunning architecture and beauty that inspired Claude Monet. In fact, Honfleur, Normandy, is considered to be the birthplace of impressionism by many art historians. Eugene Boudin taught Claude Monet and Alfred Sisley light effects here when they were young and aspiring artists.
Honfleur has a very beautiful and ornate carousel in its harbour. An unusual feature of this 100+-year-old carousel is the fact that it is on two levels. It was funny to see adults riding it as well.