The quais of Honfleur!!!

This is my favorite part of Honfleur and the most touristic go figure it! It seems the world comes here and also locals. It is heavens on earth ,and a wonderful spot for any season. Of course, I am talking about Honfleur but also more especifically its wharfs or quais around the old basin or vieux bassin!  I have plenty on the city in my blog, but let me update this older post for memories’ sake and hope you enjoy it as I.

Honfleur is a town surrounding a beautiful little 17C harbor in Calvados dept 14 of Normandie and of course in my belle France. It is still active as a fishing port and marina. The town has preserved many historic and traditional buildings and houses some interesting museums, churches and monuments. It is said, is the second most visited site in all of Normandy!


You can easily reach Honfleur by car in only about 2 hours from Paris,  ideal for a weekend visit out of season, the sort of place with just enough history, culture, sightseeing and good food to evoke a feeling of getting away , without going too far. Only 194 km from Paris via the A13 and A29 (Toll). Also, by road  23 km from Le Havre via the A131 and Pont de Normandie. 64 km from Caen via A13 (toll) , and through Pont-l’Evêque or D513 via Dives and Deauville. It is 184 km from Le Mans via the A28 and A88 (toll). There are ways to avoid the tolls but will be a slower journey, your choice I always try to leave enough time to avoid these taxes! From my new Morbihan I ,also take the A13 but several times got off by Caen on the D513 coming along by Trouville and Deauville.

You can ,also come with the Bus Verts line 20 links Caen to Le Havre via Honfleur The bus leaves you at the Honfleur bus station, Rue des Vases, and it also , runs between Deauville-St Gatien Airport and the town center or bus station.  Honfleur has no train station of its own; the closest train stations are those in Le Havre and Trouville-Deauville. Both have several daily direct trains to and from Paris Saint-Lazare station and both can be reached by Bus Verts line 20. As always like to tell, never taken bus or trains here, always by car. The public transport is for reference only.

Honfleur was assigned the role of fortress town as far back as the 11C, it was charged with keeping hostile, mainly English  ships from wandering too far up the Seine estuary.  And, from the 16C, its mariners were busily exploring Canada, helping to establish the French presence that bequeathed Quebec. Honfleur is tucked between two round hills, it is a maze of tiny streets crowded around an old port. On the northern wharf, a row of tall narrow houses with slate roofs and in some cases even slate facades dating back to the 16C, 17C and 18C. Many  streets lead to the Place de Ste.-Catherine, but it is well worth following a zigzag path to study the varied architecture of the homes on the Rue Haute, Rue Brulée, Rue de la Bavole, Rue des Capucins and Rue du Puits. Many have the half-timbered look associated with Normandy, and others are made of stone and are decorated with sculptures. Most were built between the 16C and 18C.

The Vieux Basin is a Port or Vieux Port located in the center of Honfleur . Its narrow slate houses reflecting in the basin make it the main tourist attraction of Honfleur.  This afloat basin was created on the insistance of Abraham Duquesne and by order of Colbert in 1681. It replaces the old stranding haven, which was much narrower. This work necessitates the destruction of the western part of the ramparts, and ended in 1684. This basin with an area of approximately one hectare (10 000 m2) has a length of 130 meters for a width of 70 meters on the south side and 85 meters on the north side where the channel is located to the port of Honfleur. It is entirely surrounded by docks accessible to the public.


The Vieux Port basin is surrounded by the Quai Sainte-Catherine in the west and for a part of the south side. The quarantine of mansions dates back to the 17-18C. They are narrow and have three to seven floors (except for house No. 2 which has only one floor). Many facades are covered with slate. Some mansions are built in corbally. The old basin has always been represented by artists including Gustave Courbet,  Eugène Boudin, Claude Monet and Johan Barthold  Jongkind,  forming the school  of Honfleur which contributed  to the appearance of the Impressionist  movement. Today, most of the ground floor of the Quai Sainte-Catherine are occupied by restaurants and brasseries. The south side extends the Quai Sainte-Catherine via the rue Montpensier. Through an underground route, the brook of Claire feeds the basin.


The basin is occupied only by a dozen constructions constituting the Quai Saint-Étienne. Among these are the City/Town Hall, the old St. Etienne (Stephen’s) Church, which has become a Marine Museum or Musée de la Marine. Three lanes access the Quai Saint-Étienne. On sea side, there is the quai de la Quarantaine and only one building: the lieutenance; that was once the home of the King’s lieutenant. This is the only important vestige of the city’s fortifications. The mobile bridge over the channel towards the front-port formed by the Morelle completes the tour of the basin.


The city of Honfleur on the Vieux Basin

The Honfleur tourist office on the Vieux Basin

There you go folks, just what I needed is to share this spot of our world with you all. Honfleur is catchy sort like an honorable flower town (my translation) and deservently so. Enjoy Honfleur as we had , do and will have; memories forever.

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

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