Quant little Honfleur!!!

And I have to come back to this memorable sentimental town of ours. So many posts and pictures, (see posts) I like to give it fresh life to this post in my black and white series. Honfleur is awesome in many ways! Enjoy the tour!

I will brighten up my mind writing about quant little beautiful ,etc etc Honfleur!  My dear late Mom Gladys and Wife Martine  love the town, and so much that they are buried at sea off Honfleur by the volunteer lifesavers of the SNSM boat Notre Dame base in Honfleur. I given some insights on the tourist spots and places to eat even hotels, now let me tell you a bit about the history I like.

Honfleur is a marvelous little town by the sea and the Seine river. The town is in the département 14 of Calvados in the region of Normandie, and located on the south bank of the estatuary of the Seine river facing Le Havre and on the ending of the bridge of Normandy. Often call an artists/painters town and with its own school. Many times represented in the work of Gustave Courbet, Eugène Boudin, Claude Monet ,and Johan Barthold Jongkind, forming the school of Honfleur, that contributes to the emergence of the impressionniste movement. The artists Alphonse Allais ,and Erik Satie were born here on the same street !

The first mention of Honfleur in writing dates back to Richard III duke of Normandy in 1027. It is known that by the middle of the 12C the town was an important trade point with England coming from Rouen via Seine river. Charles V ordered fortified the town to stop the English to come up the Seine river with the help of the port of Honfleur located just on the statuary of the river. However, nevertheless Honfleur was taken by the English and occupied in 1357 and again in 1419 and 1450.

Honfleur participated in the movement for great discoveries with a Jehan Denis visiting Labrador and Newfoundland that he took in the name of the king of France in 1506. These expeditions made the port of Honfleur one of the most important in France and served as launching pad for adventures in the French colonies of America such as the repeated sailings of Samuel de Champlain that ended by the founding of Québec in 1608. From this point on, commerce developped to Canada, Louisiana, the Caribbean and the African coasts as well as Azores islands, making Honfleur one of the five main towns in the slave trade.

Honfleur was liberated in WWII on August 25 1944 by the Belgian army Brigade Piron and the town suffered no damage, one of the rare Normand towns to be spare. More so that what you see is genuine original in the architecture and buildings of the town!

A bit on what Honfleur has to offer to follow. The town has a whopping 57 historical monuments in its territory, including the wonderful Sainte Catherine Church, Saint Etienne Church, Saint Leonard Church, the Salt depots, the Lieutenance house and most of the houses in the Quai Sainte Catherine, as well as the Vieux Bassin, and my family’s favorite the Notre Dame of Grace Chapel or Chapelle Notre-Dame-de-Grâce up the côte de Grâce hill and the big Cross of Christ overlooking the harbor and towards Le Havre.

Chapelle Notre-Dame-de-Grâce,(see post)  built in 1910 in the limits of Equemauville, and here after the fall out of the cliffs houses ex voto , boat models and an organ from 1990; on the exterior you can see the pilgrims bells.  We had held Mass here so a bit more : This Chapelle Notre-Dame de Grâce was built between  1600-1615 by the rich merchant and marines/fisherman of  Honfleur at the place of an older Chapel that was destroyed due to a slide in the cliffs; this older one was built before the year 1023 by Richard II, Duke of Normandy  to pay a wish of which on the course of a storm he could had perished ; thereafter, the cult is perpetuated.

The museum or Musée Eugène-Boudin and its annex dedicated to religious art in the bell tower of the Sainte Catherine Church which a building apart from the Church! ; the house or Maison Satie and the museums of old Honfleur such as marine museum or Musée de la Marine (inside the old Saint Etienne Church and a must to see), and the museum or Musée d’Ethnographie et d’Art populaire; (in the old prison of the Viscount of Roncheville).

The water basin or ponds were built by Abraham Duquesne on orders of Colbert in 1681. The old basin or vieux bassin rounds the quai Sainte-Catherine and the houses are numbered from 2 to 68, the houses dates from the 17C and 18C. They are very narrow and have from 3 to 7 floors (FR) except the No 2 that has one floor. Many of the facades are covered in tiles and other are done in corbel.  Today, most in the street level of the quai Sainte-Catherine are restaurants or brasseries. The side along the quai Sainte-Catherine by the narrow rue Montpensier have an underground trail with a creek of the Claire feeding the basin. The other side of the basin is with other buildings on the quai Saint-Étienne; which include, the city hall or hôtel de ville, and the Saint Etienne Church (St Stephen) now the marine museum. There are three small narrow streets that gives access to the quai Saint-Étienne. On the side of the ocean you have the quai de la Quarantaine,and one building ,the lieutenance that was next to the housing for the king’s lieutenant. The only fortified part of the town today. The movable bridge on the basin and over the channel to the front port is by the Morelle that makes end on the tour of the basin.

The Church dedicated to Sainte Catherine of Alexandria as there is a statue in wood on top of the entrance porch of the bell tower, representing a wheel and a sword. The first nave on the left is the oldest dating from the second half of the 15C and built like a market where the naval construction were done , giving a look as if it were an upside down boat. The bell tower is apart from the Church, unique, this was done to avoid fires that would hurt the parishioners. The Saint Etienne Church is of gothic style part from the 14C and 15C, the oldest Church in town, built in chalk stone with silex and Caen stone as Honfleur is on the limits of these stone formations, the bell tower is in chesnut wood and now houses the marine museum which is very nice with its model boats of old.

The city of Honfleur on things to see: https://www.ville-honfleur.com/decouvrir-honfleur/honfleur-et-son-patrimoine/

The Honfleur tourist office in English: https://www.honfleur-tourism.co.uk/

There are many films done here and some of my favorites (even if this is not by all means a full list).
Les Trois Mousquetaires (1953), by André Hunebelle, with Georges Marchal and Bourvil (great French comedian).
L’Homme à la Buick (1967), of Gilles Grangier, with Fernandel (another great French comedian) ,and Danielle Darrieux
La Chambre verte (1977), of François Truffaut, with François Truffaut and Nathalie Baye
Tendre Poulet (1978), of Philippe de Broca, with Annie Girardot and Philippe Noiret
Le Quatrième Pouvoir (1985), of Serge Leroy, with Philippe Noiret and Nicole Garcia

There ,is, also since 1995, each year at end November when the town host the Festival of Russian films or Festival du cinéma Russe. A very important movie festival on Russian cinema with producers, directors and actors in competition are invited. Keep an eye on the webpage: http://festival-honfleur.fr/

You now have good shopping at the outlet mall Honfleur Outlet. webpage: https://www.honfleuroutlet.com/fr/

And the wonderful garden event PassionnémentJardin with plants and showings and purchases yes we had and good deals, my Martine love it!!! webpage: https://www.passionnementjardin.fr/

And the good one Naturospace with wild butterflies and tropical lush in Honfleur! Just up the alley from the public park where the garden event is held follow the road and at the end is the Naturospace. webpage: https://www.naturospace.com/

And cruises up the Seine river even to Paris! webpage: https://www.croisierenet.com/ports/301/france/croisiere-honfleur.html

And those out of Honfleur into the ocean and around and under the bridge of Normandy. We have done the Calypso and Jolie France nice. Honfleur tourist office webpage on these: https://www.honfleur-tourism.co.uk/making-my-stay-count/leisures/promenade-en-bateau-honfleur-jolie-france-la-calypso-2/

Well, hope you get the idea , Honfleur is one whole packful of goodies ,and in such a small space is even more cosy, quant, nice, beautiful Honfleur. And hope you enjoy the post as I!! And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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