NORMANDY HonfleurHonfleur (pop. 8,360) is a seaside town located on the southern bank of the estuary of the Seine River. Its residents are often referred to as Honfleurais. The town’s heart is at the Vieux Bassin (Old Harbour), which is a 17th century harbour that is still active, though more as a marina than a fishing port. This harbour has been an inspiration to artists over the years, most notably those who were involved in the Impressionist movement. Honfleur’s streets are lined with historic and traditional buildings that have political and religious significance. Hence, this brightly coloured town oozes traditional charm at every corner.

 Honfleur has a rich seafaring tradition. After the Norman invasion of England in the 11th century, Honfleur became an important shipping point for goods travelling from Rouen to England. Due to its strategic location, the town profited from the sea trade tremendously. However, this also made Honfleur a target of attacks during the Hundred Years War, when it was occupied by the English. After this, the town continued engaging in maritime and slave trade, which contributed to its prosperity until the 18th century. Honfleur was also an important departure point for some of the world’s history-makers, such as Samuel de Champlain, who founded Quebec City after setting sail from here in 1608. Cavelier de la Salle also set sail from here in 1681, later founding Louisiana.

The town’s centre is at the port in Vieux Bassin. While, its north-western side leads to the eatery-lined street of Quai Ste Catherine, Rue de la République branches out from its southwest, leading into the town’s commercial hub. On its north-east, lies the Outer Harbour. There are no train stations in the town and the only way to arrive would be via bus or taxi.



 NORMANDY HonfleurThe most popular tourist destination in Honfleur is the 500 year old Église Ste Catherine [Quai Sainte-Catherine, +33 231892330 ]. It was built between the 15th and 16th centuries, by Honfleurais who decided to construct the entire structure out of wood, in a cost-saving attempt. It was meant to be a temporary replacement to its stone predecessor which was destroyed during the Hundred Years War. However, it withstood the test of time; together with its monumental bell tower- Clocher Ste-Catherine.

Being an Impressionist artist hotspot, Honfleur built the Musée Eugéne Boudin [rue de l'Homme de Bois, +33 231895400  ad/ch €5.10/3.60], to remember the works of the early Impressionist painter and hometown boy. There is a special room set aside for his works, while the rest of the museum displays other artists’ paintings as well.

FR NORMANDY Honfleur Marinemuseum in HonfleurErected in memory of a local artist, the Les Maisons Satie [67, boulevard Charles V, +33 231891111  http://edumusic.free.fr/maisonssatie.shtml ad/ch €5.40/free] is a half-timbered house and birthplace of avant-garde composer- Erik Satie. It was turned into a museum to commemorate his eccentric life and works. Each room presents a quirky artefact which you can view whilst listening to his music. The aim is to provide a corporeal surrealist experience.

The 13th century church of Église St-Étienne has been turned into the Musée de la Marine [Quai Saint-Étienne,  +33 231891412  ad/ch €3.30/2.10], which pays homage to the maritime tradition of Honfleur by displaying ship models, tools and engravings.

The neighbouring building is the Musée d’ethnographie et d’art Populaire Nomandie [Rue de la Prison +33 231891412  www.musees-basse-normandie.fr ad/ch €3.40/2.20]. This aims to reconstruct a 16th-19th century Honfleur setting, with costumes, furniture and artefacts. It comprises of 9 period rooms situated in a former prison.