Honfleur – An old maritime town
Honfleur is a charming seaside town on the Seine, commune in the Calvados department in northwestern France. Its inhabitants are called Honfleurais. It is especially known for its old, beautiful picturesque port, characterized by its houses with slate-covered frontages, painted many times by artists.
Indeed, surrounded by lush greenery with hills on either side, it is no wonder artists, writers and musicians have found Honfleur so inspirational. 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.
The end of the Middle Ages saw a sharp increase in the population of Honfleur. The inhabitants lived in three definite areas. The central and fortified Enclos, and two districts outside the central fortification: Sainte Catherine and Saint Léonard.
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 15thcenturies.
In Honfleur also, 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. It was listed as a historical monument in 1879, and has drawn the attention of many archaeologists and historians.
Regarding l’Eglise Saint Léonard, it was destroyed during the Hundred Years War and rebuilt at the end of the 15th and beginning of the 16th centuries. It was partly burnt down in 1562, during the Wars of Religion. The main portal is considered to be one of the most beautiful expressions of high Gothic style. Near this church, you'll find fountains and a “lavoir” which were once the town's wash house.
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. The “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.
Finally, it should not be forgotten that 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.
Honfleur offers a cultural season with concerts, theatrical productions, festivals... If you would like to relax in the town, there are also some pubs such as “Le Perroquet vert” et “l'Albatros”.
Honfleur is known for its markets which offer lot of local products. More precisely, every Saturday it is the traditional market, where Sainte Catherine ‘s Square becomes a large market where you can find fresh fruits, vegetables, meat... Every Wednesday it is the organic market. The port also has a fantastic fish market, with shrimp a local delicacy that is celebrated with a Shrimp Festival in October. Local products are also available in the quaint shops like the cream liqueur made with apple brandy. You'll find galleries, boutiques and antiques shops lining the narrow streets, in particular the Rue de la Republique.
Standard Time Zone : UTC/GMT + 1 hour
The climate of northern France is usually cold in winter and mild to hot in summer with an average low temp of 4 degrees Celsius in winter and an average hight temps of 22 degrees Celsius in summer.
The city provides “Bus Verts du Calvados”. You'll find either the regular bus lines between Le Havre and Honfleur via The Normandy Bridge or the Express bus lines : Caen-Deauville-Honfleur (n°20)- Lisieux-Honfleur (n°50). 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.