Thurs, July 11
What to do in France? We were very fortunate on our river cruise last year to stay in Paris for 3 days, so we decided to go somewhere completely different this time, which is the only reason we chose to go to Honfleur. We had never heard of this village, so did not realise what a treat was in store for us.
We set off from the port of Le Havre by coach into the Normandy countryside on a lovely warm morning, meandering through some of the surrounding villages. We saw beautiful gardens and thatched roof cottages, some of which had irises growing in the thatch.
Eventually we arrived at the 13th century Norman fishing village which is also a popular yacht harbour, where our guide took us on a walking tour of its picturesque cobbled streets, 17th century salt warehouse now used for exhibitions and concerts, boutiques and traditional craft shops and works by Honfleur’s famous painter, Eugene Boudin. We also saw the remains of the old prison and Saint Catherine’s Church, a 15th century church built by shipwrights. Today, it is the largest wooden church with a separate bell-tower in France.
One of my photos shows a narrow street with the sewer running down the centre, so people had to walk close to the walls to avoid the contents of buckets which were emptied from the upstairs windows. The village square had lots of outdoor tables and chairs and I was sorry that I did not have time to sit a while at the table with the fancy chairs with a glass of wine in hand!
Honfleur is famous for apple cider and caramels so they were easy choices for souvenirs, plus a small drawing of the port bought from the artist himself. I could not leave France without a stop at the patisserie, and came out with a bag of 6 delicious French pastries for 2 Euros – what a bargain!
Our tour concluded with a drive over the new Normandy Bridge, the largest of its kind in Europe, spanning the Seine estuary before making our way back to Le Havre.