Things to do in Honfleur

Spending time in the picture-perfect port of Honfleur is a treat for history buffs and fans of the arts. Famed for it’s appealing harbourside, Honfleur has a long and interesting history which definitely makes it worth exploring.

Honfleur is a small place that is easy to explore by foot. If you were determined to, you could visit most of the sights in two days, but why hurry in such a pretty place? You could easily spend several days taking in all Honfleur has to offer at a leisurely pace.

Le Vieux Bassin

Ports don’t come any prettier than Honfleur. The 17th century port is surrounded by tall 6-7 storey medieval timbered buildings, and the quayside lined with shops, cafes and restaurants, making it very easy to enjoy a spot of people-watching with a spectacular backdrop.

Musee du Vieux Honfleur (Museum of Old Honfleur)

An excellent introduction to Honfleur’s history is provided by the Musee du Vieux Honfleur, which is on a narrow side street off the east side of the Bassin. Housed in one of the town’s characteristic old buildings, the different rooms of the museum display typical building / room set-ups from the past, which really makes a visit feel like a walk through history. Honfleur hosts an impressive number of museums for a small town. You could also visit the Musee d’Ethnographie, Musee de la Marine, explore Honfleur’s artistic history via the collection of Impressionist works at the Eugene Boudin Museum or explore Maisons Satie, the museum dedicated to the composer.

Historic buildings in Honfleur old town, Normandy, France

Saint Catherine’s Church

Just off the western side of the Bassin is Saint Catherine’s Church, a 15th Century church which is the last surviving wooden church in France. The preservation of the striking wooden structure in the centre of a little square is impressive, as is the delicate woodwork on the inside. Built from locally sourced timber, and in the shape of an upturned hull, the church is a tribute Honfleur’s historic naval construction skills.

Saturday Market

Which self-respecting French town wouldn’t have a market to marvel at? For the freshest local produce, a trip to Honfleur’s Saturday morning market is unmissable. Stall after stall offers delightful edible local treats such as cheeses, meat products, sweet goods, as well as a great choice of fruit and vegetables. Miscellaneous stalls are scattered around Saint Catherine’s church selling garden decoration, antiques, art, books, all sorts. The variety makes it a very interesting market to browse.

Cured meats on sale at the Saturday market in Honfleur, France

Pont de Normandie

If you take an excursion out of town, and like a roadtrip with a view, the Pont de Normandie is just north of town connecting Honfleur to Le Havre. Completed in 1995, the very tall suspension bridge spans the 1.3 mile width of the Seine. It offers a great view over the estuary (to passengers!) and there is a toll to cross.

Calvados by the harbour

Of course after a busy day exploring all Honfleur has to offer, the best way to unwind is by enjoying a local specialty at one of the harbourside cafes. Calvados is an apple brandy, and a specialty from the Normandy region. If that sounds a bit heavy, unwind with an equally tasty Normandy cider.

Calvados and cider by the harbourside in Honfleur, Normandy, France


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