A small seaside town in France, the charming port of Honfleur (pronounced on-flur) is a popular weekend destination among Parisians and artists. Several cute little shops selling unique kinds of artwork, gifts, homemade products, souvenirs, chocolates and sprawling restaurants (over 100 of them) serving some of the best French food are sprinkled in this small town. Honfleur comes to life in the evenings and dies down around 9 pm.
We drove through the narrow stone-cobbled studded roads freaked out and surprised two cars could actually fit in what seemed like a lot exactly for a single car. After a nerve wrecking drive and settling in our room, we took stroll around this hilly town, through the windy narrow roads while tasting some of the best wines and traditional French food this town has to offer.
Here is our list of the top 3 things you must see in Honfleur:
1. Visit the St. Catherine Church
This huge, wooden church is situated right in the heart of this dainty town. It was built in the 15th century by shipwrights evident by several models of ships that are placed all over the church, including the altar (don’t forget to check out Jesus on boat). Also, just look up as you enter the church, the roof actually resembles an upturned boat. The pipe organ inside the church is still functional and used during concerts. The church’s bell tower, which is separate from the church, but is right by its side.
The story has it that the citizens of Honfleur built this church to thank God after the British left their country after a long war.
2. Do the Cote de Grace walk for panoramic views of the city
It’s a 20 minutes steep walk up from St. Catherine’s Church; actually not too bad at all after a delicious dinner. Don’t expect to burn off the calories though!
If you are not in a mood for the walk, you can drive up there. From atop, panoramic views of the city, Normandy Bridge and Siene River await you. And while you are there, check out the Notre Dame de Grace Church and the huge bells right beside it (I am not sure if they are still in use).
3. Stroll around the Vieux Basin
Situated a stone’s throw away from Saint Catherine’s Church, the Le Vieux Basin has a slew of bars, restaurants and cafes with romantic outdoor seating facing the lovely port. It is nice strolling around the Vieux Basin both during the day and at night (we preferred the night, less crowded with good views). The dim lights at night and the sleek sailboats docked at the harbor make it a peaceful and romantic walk. During the day, you might also get to see artists painting away this picturesque port.