The Church Sainte Catherine of Honfleur, part III !!!

This is an icon of Honfleur, Calvados and Normandie and uniquely boat roof in wood only one in France! This is my beloved Honfleur and its main Church of Sainte Catherine. We make it a must to stop by each time in town and it has been many luckily! Hope you enjoy this wonderful monument of Honfleur updating from 2019!


Again by my beloved city of Honfleur, in the Calvados dept 14 of the region of Normandie. I have written so much on this city in my blog over the years, and even sometimes repeated but to me its all worth it. If you have read my blog…  Coming to see once again the Church of Sainte Catherine by the old basin or port of Honfleur is always gratifying. It offers a unique architectural experience and loving history of the locals, hard earned traditions and just a positive feeling all around it.  My belle France has an ever lasting inventory of gems some known ,most not, but all exquisite.


The Sainte-Catherine Church has the particularity, very rare in France, to be built essentially of wood. The church is located near the old basin (Vieux Bassin) , just behind the Quai Sainte-Catherine. It is the largest Church built in wood with a bell-tower separated from it in France. This choice of material is due to the lack of resources of the inhabitants of the time. But with a drawback, the local Honfleurais were able to make it an asset. With their knowledge of shipbuilding, they built the Church, with two separate naves, in the manner of a ship, with the help of wood from the forest of Touques. The result is breathtaking. Not to be missed.



The Church is dedicated to Sainte Catherine of Alexandria as recalled by a wooden sculpture above the porch of the bell-tower separated from the two naves. She is depicted wearing a wheel and a sword. The first nave (the one on the left) is the oldest part of the building, dating back to the second half of the 15C, built after the hundred years war. It was built on the model of a market hall, where shipbuilding elements were used, giving the appearance of a overturned boat hull. Then, the bell tower was erected at a good distance from the nave, to prevent the parishioners present in the church from being burned in the event of a fire. In the 16C, a second nave was added to the right of the previous one, the vault of which conformed to the wooden vaults of the modest Gothic churches. It therefore has a more rounded shape and a structural layout, unrelated to the structure of a ship. In addition, the two naves are lengthwise by two additional spans. In addition, they are framed by the same length aisles, also wooden vaulted. It is the largest Church built in wood with a bell-tower separated from it in France.



The Ste Catherine Church is partially covered with chestnut-wood shingles, which are called dialectally shingles and thus constitute weatherboarding The neo-Norman porch was built on the model of those of the rural churches of Normandy at the beginning of the 20C and replaces a monumental portal in neo-classical  style in the previous century and which can be seen depicted on some canvases of Jongkind or Boudin. The southern portal is Renaissance style.

Note the classical organ from the parish of Saint Vincent de Rouen and the Renaissance balcony adorned with musicians. 19C stained glass Windows decorate the window of the choir to the east. The Church of Sainte Catherine  is devoid of transept and the aisles of chapels that are only materialized by recent statues of Holy characters including the indigenous Saint Marcouf and St. Teresa of Lisieux.

A sight to behold and a must to see while in Honfleur, enough said; plenty written all over my blog. Hope you can see and enjoy it as we do. Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are:

The Honfleur tourist office on the church and neighborhood Sainte Catherine:

The Calvados dept 14 tourist board on the Church Sainte Catherine of Honfleur

The Normandy tourist board on the Church Sainte Catherine of Honfleur

And there you go another gem I said, a must to see ,I said. Enough me think , now its up to you. Enjoy Honfleur , my beloved dear city in Calvados in Normandy in my belle France. Until my next round on Honfleur!

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all !!!

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