Honfleur travel guide

Cities and towns

About Honfleur

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 école du Honfleur (the Honfleur School), an artistic movement involving Monet and Eugene 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 Eugene 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 were 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 jardins personnalites' 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 Republique.

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.

Why visit Honfleur?

  • The Museums
  • The Churches
  • The Port
  • École du Honfleur

Overview

  • Country: France
  • Region: Normandy
  • Department: Calvados
  • Population: 8,000
  • Coordinates: 49.421582,0.233116

Coordinates shown are based on the WGS84 system, please check driving directions before departing.

Nearby attractions

Formerly the town's salt warehouses, these buildings used to store 10,000 tonnes of salt for the fishermen bringing back their catch. Today, they play host to various cultural events such as concerts, shows, exhibitions and...

Honfleur's maritime museum is housed inside the deconsecrated Eglise St Etienne, a beautiful 14th century church which is the oldest in the town.

The musician and composer Erik Satie was born in this house in 1866 and went on to become a world-renowned creative who also wrote and painted, counting the likes of Picasso and Debussy amongst his friends and collaborators....

A favourite place of the Impressionists, this farmhouse has since been restored to become a hotel with a Michelin star restaurant and spa. The farmhouse was a source of inspiration to painters including Monet and Boudin who...

Places to visit nearby

After serious devastation during the WW2 bombings, Le Havre has risen phoenix-like from the ashes to become a recognised UNESCO World Heritage Site for its post-war architecture.

Trouville in Normandy is both a charming seaside resort and a picturesque fishing village all in one!

Deauville in Normandy is a glamorous town on the Côte Fleurie ('flowery coast'), famous for horse racing and its international cultural festivals.