Honfleur is an old harbor town situated in the region of Normandie. The first written mention of the town dates back to the 11th-century, but its origins date back to the 9th-century when the Celts settled on the banks of the Siena River. The main trade of Honfleur was fishing. Due to its perfect location, Honfleur became the significant town in the medieval age. Many discoverers started their journey here to explore the new world, for example, Samuel Chaplain. This meant a boom for the small port town, particularly in the area of trade with luxury goods. The traders sold to America but also to Africa, India, and Brazil.
In those times, Honfleur was invested in enriching the city, and so it is no surprise that Honfleur is one of the most beautiful French towns. Due to its popularity, a lot of famous French Artists came here to find inspiration. In Honfleur settled artists such as Claude Monet, Gustave Courbet or Eugène Boudin, who founded the so-called Honfleur School. Besides of two charming ports, Honfleur features unique architecture, beaches, and delicious French cuisine. Read our list of 11 best things to do and explore Honfleur:
1. Les Maisons Satie
Les Maisons Satie is a unique museum that captures the art of Erik Satie, french pianist and compositor. The avant-garde Erik Satie lived and worked in Honfleur. The gallery was opened 1998 and features various unique rooms and the exhibition is accompanied by Satie’s music. In the museum you will find remarkable art such as the white self-playing piano, huge pear with wings and mechanized monkey.
Les Maisons Satie
Address: 67 bd Charles V & 90 rue Haute, Honfleur, France
Website: Les Maisons Satie
2. Musée Eugène Boudin
The museum was built in a 19th-century chapel and extended to two other modern buildings. The museum is named after one of the most famous painters in France, Eugène Boudin. The exhibition consists of nine rooms and displays Boudin’s artworks as well as the art of other great artists such as C. Monet, Gernez and Friesz. The museum also features a collection of Normandy dresses and costumes.
Musée Eugène Boudin
Address: Rue de l'Homme de Bois - Place Erik Satie, 14600 Honfleur, France
Website: Musée Eugène Boudin
3. Église Ste-Catherine
The Church of Saint Catherine (Église Ste-Catherine) was built after the end of the Hundred-Year War to replace a former stone church that had been destroyed. The construction began in the second half of the 15th-century. The story tells that people from Honfleur built the church as a thank you to God for the fact that the British had left after a long war. Due to the lack of stone material, Honfleur’s people quickly built a wooden church. In the 19th-century, the interior of the church went through extensive reconstructions.
Address: 14600 Honfleur, France
4. Vieux Bassin
Le Vieux Bassin (old port) is a charming harbor surrounded by picturesque narrow houses. The harbor was built in 1681 since the old port had become too small for the increasing needs of the town. The old harbor, with its boats, is a focal point of the city. At the mouth of the harbor, you can find the once the residence of the royal governor. The small, although beautiful, port is ideal for a relaxing and romantic walk.
Address: Honfleur, Vieux Bassin, France
5. Chapelle Notre Dame de Grâce
The Chapel Notre Dame de Grâce is an ancient maritime chapel and one of the oldest in Normandy. The sanctuary is located at the foot of the Caucus Mountains. The chapel was built in the 17th-century and is beautifully painted with plaques and models of ships. On the heights of Honfleur, the Chapel Notre Dame de Grâce offers a superb panorama over the Pont de Normandie.
Chapelle Notre Dame de Grâce
Address: 989 Côte de Grâce, 14600 Équemauville, France
The Naturospace is a zoo in Honfleur featuring some amazing species freely flying within the tropical reservation. Besides animals, there is the opportunity to witness a collection of rare trees and flowers. This exhibition with its climate provides a remarkable journey and unique experience with a view of the most colorful species of the animals in the world.
Address: Boulevard Charles V, 14600 Honfleur, France
7. Musée de la Marine
The Museum of Maritime is located in the Old Harbor - Le Vieux Bassin and it’s built in Honfleur’s oldest church, Saint-Etienne, that comes from the 14th-century. The museum collects great models of ships, planes, and other maritime memories, which all represent the history of the maritime of Honfleur. The exhibition shows the work of the ships, which sailed in the 18th and 19th-century. The museum provides great insight into the life of mariners and the evolution of the harbor.
Musée de la Marine
Address: 11 Quai Saint-Etienne, 14600 Honfleur, France
Website: Musée de la Marine
The Lieutenance is the last bastion of medieval Honfleur and the last vestige of the ramparts that were destroyed at the end of the 17th-century on the order of Colbert. Over the centuries, the building has undergone many rebuilds. The very first ramparts of the town of Honfleur were erected in the 13th-century. Around 1350, Charles V built a fortress surrounding the harbor as well as the city. The Lieutenance is one of the most significant buildings of Honfleur.
Address: 12 Place Sainte-Catherine, 14600 Honfleur, France
Where to eat in Honfleur?
The Normandin cuisine is famous for its dairy products like butter, milk, and cheese. Restaurants in Normandy use local and fresh products. The Normandin cuisine, as well as French cuisine in general, is well known as one of the most delighted in the entire world. Taste for yourself in one of the best restaurants in Honfleur.
9. Au Petit Mareyeur
This restaurant is just outside of the touristic area with very cozy and friendly ambiance. The kind staff provides quality and excellent service. The menu offers mainly fish dishes of the freshest quality due to a location in a harbor town. The restaurant is a good price for delicious food of the traditional cuisine.
Au Petit Mareyeur
Address: 4 Rue Haute, 14600, Honfleur, France
Website: Au Petit Mareyeur
10. La Fleur de Sel
The beautifully designed and luxury restaurant is situated in the Old Harbor of Honfleur. The menu offers traditional cuisine as well as pieces of Europian dishes. There is a broad range of delicious French wines to choose from, all accompanied with excellent and kind staff, making the place perfect for dining.
La Fleur de Sel
Address: 17 Rue Haute, 14600, Honfleur, France
Website: La Fleur de Sel
This restaurant guarantees an amazing experience. Delicious food, delicious wines, friendly and professional service, that is all you need to have a lovely time. The menu offers many specialties and local cuisine. The restaurant is modernly designed and provides comfortable ambiance. The unique place is in the heart of Honfleur.
Address: 22 Place Hamelin, 14600, Honfleur, France
Last but not least, Honfleur has much more
Besides of the cultural activities, sightseeing, and local cuisine, Honfleur has an unusual nature to explore. All the Normandian surroundings provide some gorgeous overlooks. In the extremely hot summer days, you can visit any of the closest beaches, for example, Plage du Butin. You can be sure this city will not let you get bored!
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