Honfleur in Normandy is a charming seaside town on the Seine estuary that is immediately recognisable by its tall narrow buildings - which look as though they've been squeezed into the streets!
Surrounded by lush greenery with hills on either side, it is no wonder artists, writers and musicians have found Honfleur so inspirational. The Ecole du Honfleur (the Honfleur School), an artistic movement involving Monet and Eugène Boudin (who was born in the town), was a big influence on the Impressionist Movement. Some of their paintings of the town can be seen in the Eugène Boudin Museum. Honfleur is home to many museums including a maritime museum, a museum of culture and folk art and a town museum that all discuss the area's rich past.
Visit the beautiful and unique churches, especially the Eglise St Catherine, which is the largest wooden church in France. The warmth of the wood compared to a stone church has to be experienced. Near the Eglise St Leonard you'll find fountains and a lavoir which was once the town's washhouse.
There are some pretty gardens and Honfleur has been awarded one of the top prizes, 4 flowers out of 4, in the French 'Towns and Villages in Bloom' ('Villes et Villages Fleuris') competition. Not to be missed is the 'Le jardin des Personnalités' on the outskirts of town, a fantastic garden with busts of Honfleur's famous sons and daughters, and adopted children of the town such as Monet. The farmhouse where many artists of the Impressionist Movement stayed in Honfleur, La Ferme St Siméon, is now a hotel and spa beside the sea.
Honfleur's port has been an important one throughout history. Originally founded by Vikings, expeditions to Quebec set sail from here, along with much commerce to England. It also had to defend itself from the English when it was occupied in the 14th and 15th centuries.
Today, the port has a fantastic fish market, with shrimp a local delicacy that is celebrated with a Shrimp Festival in October. Local cheeses, the famous Calvados brandy and Crème de Calvados, a Baileys-like cream liqueur made with apple brandy, are available in the quaint shops, with art galleries, boutiques and antiques shops also lining the narrow streets, in particular the Rue de la République.
With the opening of the Pont du Normandie, a cable-bridge that for a while was the longest in the world, the town of Le Havre is now easily accessible from Honfleur. The upmarket seaside towns of Deauville and Trouville are also nearby and the Route du Cidre (Cider Route), a tour of cider producers in the region, passes through villages close to the town.
Holidays in France
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GITES AND COTTAGES IN FRANCE
HOTEL HOLIDAYS & BREAKS IN FRANCE
FAMILY HOLIDAYS IN FRANCE AND SPAIN
CAR & MOTORCYCLE TOURS IN FRANCE
Getting to Normandy
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