The Lieutenance of Honfleur!

There is an ongoing saga of my family coming to this wonderful city of Honfleur. It was love at first sight way back in 1992 and has been like that ever since. Many trips and seeing it all, participated in its festivals, and my dear mom Gladys and wife Martine laid at sea there. Enough said.  I am updating this older post on an emblematic building of the city, this is the Lieutenance. And as the name implies it was the home of the Lieutenant of the King!  You cannot come to Honfleur without seeing it visited it and enjoyed it all by the old basin or vieux basin or port. Glorious basking in Honfleur, the city of seamen.  


The Lieutenance or lieutenancy of Honfleur is located near the old basin. Last vestige of the fortifications of Honfleur, the building was the dwelling of the King’s Lieutenant. In 1662, the lieutenancy is one of the two gates of Honfleur. Called the Porte de Caen, it will be one of the only accesses from 1682 after the destruction of the Porte de Rouen in 1682. From 1684, the building officially took the name Lieutenance after the creation of the King’s lieutenant’s apartments. of the old basin, the lieutenancy is the last bastion of the medieval Honfleur, last vestige of the ramparts, dismantled at the end of the 17C by order of Colbert. The lieutenancy, as we see it nowadays, is the result of many renovations over the centuries.


Two buildings are to be distinguished in the lieutenancy, first the basement, made of stone, built around a corridor, is what remains of the enclosure. Above, the brick and stone buildings, built in the 17C, housed the apartments of the King’s Lieutenant from which it got its name. The very first ramparts of the city of Honfleur were erected in the 13C, around the so-called paddock. Around 1350, Charles V built a veritable fortress surrounding the harbour. The enclosure consisted of powerful walls. Two gates opened on the outside: the Porte de Rouen gate and the Porte de Caen , in other words the lieutenancy. The present façade dating from the 16C.


In front of the lieutenancy stood the Tour Carre or square tower. As in La Rochelle, chains stretched between these two towers closed the entrance to the port. The square tower was demolished in 1808. The presence of a building is attested as early as the 11C, a time when Honfleur was not yet fortified. It was profoundly reengineered between the 16-17C. In the middle of the fortifications, this city gate dates from the beginning of the 18C. Following a donation of Queen Anne of Austria, the gate receives in 1643 a niche with a statue of the Virgin, Notre Dame du Port it will be partially destroyed at the end of the 18C, it would regain its place in 1863. And the SNSM boat (volunteer lifesaving organisation) of many memories of my family bears the name of the Virgin.


A plaque in memory of Samuel de Champlain, Navigator who explored Canada and founded the city of Quebec from Honfleur in 1608, is affixed to the south façade of the Lieutenance building.

The city of Honfleur on the Lieutenance

The Honfleur tourist office on the old bassin and Lieutenance

There you go folks, another gem in my beloved Honfleur, the world comes to it and we do each time in the city; the Lieutenance , remember the name as in lieutenant.

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

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