One of the most enchanting ports in the North of France, without a doubt is Honfleur. A quaint little town, tucked away on the southern side of Seine’s estuary. Built mainly for commerce back in the day, now it is a major tourist attraction, proudly displaying cultural sights, galleries and restaurants, it is sure to delight every visitor.
At the heart of the port, you will be welcomed by an ancient marina, surrounded by tightly packed high-rise buildings, each with its own character. These were and remain prime real estate for those wealthy families having front row seats to the incoming trading ships centuries ago and now modern yachts and sail boats.
Shops and restaurants occupy every interesting corner, the museums and churches, together with the cobbled streets and authentic architecture contribute to the overall irresistible charm of this little gem in Normandy.
Some if the major sights include The Vieux-Bassin – the ancient harbor in the heart of this port, surrounded by timber frame slate-clad houses from three sides, St Catherine’s Church built entirely of wood, the Maritime Museum, hosed in the Church of Saint Etienne, The Notre-Dame-de-Grace-Chapel, famous with attracting pilgrims giving thanks to God for escaping hardships since the 17th century, Honfleur’s fine arts museum- Eugene Boudin Museum, Les Maisons Satie- contemporary museum, tribute to the musician Erik Satie, born in this place, Naturospace- the largest tropical butterfly farm in France, Jardin des Personnalites gardens and the Pont de Normandie– the bridge that spans the Siene between Honfleur and Le Havre.
The ship will bring you to the port of Le Havre and from there you can take a tour or a taxi to Honfleur, which is about an hour.
The restaurants offer a wide variety of seafood, French traditional dishes and delicious wines and do not miss on the numerous chocolateres and confectionary stores.
There are lots of small boutiques, nestled in the narrow cobbled streets, where you can find chic clothing and lots of hand made products- from souvenirs, to interior home accessories.
I have visited this charming town numerous times, as I love its relaxed coastal atmosphere, the history behind every corner and despite the narrow streets full of tourists, I always manage to recharge, get lost in the artistic quarters, find hidden shops and galleries, as well as enjoy a delicious lunch with exquisite French wine with my friends. I love to find unique souvenirs and you can see my good friend Nina, another shopaholic, bringing home this wise-looking stuffed hen, which she lovingly named Coco. Myself, I found this awesome cooking apron, featuring some adorable chicken too 🙂
Deauville is not far from Honfleur, called rightfully the Parisian’s playground, it is another delightful town, featuring spectacular villas, expensive boutiques, Casino, vast golden sands beaches and chic restaurants.
Normandy, unlike South of France does not attract with its climate and fancy resorts, but it has its rich history and tradition, pastoral nature and wholesome living, that make you want to come back over and over again…