Each and every time we chose to visit something in Normandy, each and every time we were surprised and charmed by the discoveries we made. That’s why each and every time we start planning a road trip through northern France, Normandin destinations gains the leading part of our trips. This time, on our way from Belgium to Paris, we decided to hold on to this basic planning rule and made a 24-hour detour to the port city of Honfleur. And guess what, Dear Reader? Normandy charmed us one more time!
Around the Port of Honfleur
Honfleur is a port city in the northwestern part of Normandy in the department of apple cider – Calvados. Though Honfleur has only about eight thousand residents, it left us the impression of being lively and vibrant almost every time of the day. It doesn’t matter if it is a morning or an evening, promenades by the old port of Honfleur is cozily filled with smiling locals and relaxed city guests.
Town’s main attraction is small, but a very picturesque port, framed with high, a bit colorful and very authentic houses. Here is where the main action takes place! The ground floor of those high-rising houses is inhabited by lovely French bars and restaurants, which offers a trip to the great cuisine of Calvados where mussels and apple cider are the essential tastes.
What is more, a bartender will gladly offer you a drink, if you are simply sitting on the edge of the promenade with your feets facing the water. Actually, this is how we watched the sunset in Honfleur – with a glass of beer, on the edge of the promenade with a view worth a painting. This is how we imagine perfect travel moments!
Along the Twisty Streets and Alleys
As almost every medieval town of Normandy, Honfleur has the streets that will make you remember them for a long time! Narrow and twisty, with classy looking French billboards and decorations inviting to try authentic goods from the land of Calvados. Cidery there; winery where; hand-made treat shop on that corner; family-owned cider shop on another. Cafes, bars, restaurants everywhere! And everything looks so authentic, that it is practically impossible to stop filming all the things you find around.
And that’s not all! Once in awhile, a lovely church, a cozy square, a small park or an authentically looking museum pops out from nowhere. Among the most important of them are churches of Saint Catherine, St. Stephen and St. Leonard, along with the museums of French artist Eugène Boudin and Erik Satie, and a really old looking Honfleur town museum.
What is the best about the old streets of Honfleur, is that it doesn’t matter which of them you will take, somehow at the end you will still find yourself in the old port of the city, where the perfect travel moments happen.
Towards the Sea
The third essential element that makes Honfleur so wonderful, is the sea of the English Channels. Sea breeze, wide sandy beaches, and promenades make even the best things look even better, doesn’t it, Dear Reader? Sure it does! It is so nice to get lost along the trails by the wavy waters, or just simply sit on a bench with a view to such a peaceful scenery.
Anyway, though sea has provided Honfleur with a peaceful scenery, man-made factories in the back of the view made its beaches not as attractive, as it could be. To be fair, with all its authenticity and charm, Honfleur still is a true port town and if you want to enjoy an afternoon at the beach, then you should take a bike, a car or a bus and head towards neighboring resort towns. Our first suggestion would be Etretat, but if you want to find something closer, then try coastal towns from Honfleur to Trouville. They are all small and really lovely ones!
Destination with a Wonderful Atmosphere
All in all, Honfleur is another great example of how charming Normandy is. It is authentic, it is cozy, it is tasty, and most of all – it is full of captivating sights. For us, Honfleur was the place where we found an atmosphere which we seek to experience while traveling. That consists of: not a crowded, but a really picturesque environment; a scent of the sea in the air; a bit of lovely architecture and a bit of beautiful nature; along with a tasty meal and refreshing drinks. Honfleur gave us all and we couldn’t be happier that decided to take this 24-hour detour!
Hope one day you will do the same, Dear Reader.