Honfleur, is a beautiful town in the Northwest of France. It is located on the sourthern bank of the estuary of the River Seine, near the exit of Pont de Normandie and across from Le Havre.
Here’s 5 things that you should do when you visit Honfleur:
First. Having drinks or lunch in front of Le Vieux Bassin (the old port)
You definitely cannot avoid the old port when you’re in Honfleur. The old port is surrounded by south dock (rue montpensier ), quai (read: dock) Saint-Etienne (where you can see the old church of Saint Etienne and City Hall), and quai de la Quarantaine (where you can see the old house of
king’s lieutenant (La lieutenance du roi). During summer, the south dock is used as adjacent terrace for the restaurants near the docks. So, I definitely recommend to get some drinks, lunch or having an ice cream by looking at the old port.
Second. Eating mussels and chips
If you come to Honfleur, almost every restaurant will serve the famous moules frites (read: mussels and chips) with different kind of sauces. So, it is a must try. I don’t have any particular restaurant recommendation, as long as the mussel is fresh, it usually tastes the same from one to another restaurant.
Third. Stroll and shop through the narrow street
The town architecture is a blend between medieval and Normand buildings. You can stroll, shop or eat in the city center. The street in the city center is made of pebbles. So, make sure you wear comfortable shoes to walk at the town. Honfleur is a touristy town, you can find local souvenirs such us cider, calvados liquor, fisherman stripe jackets and local confectionery.
Fourth. Visit the painter’s galleries
Artists were already aware of Honfleur, and the remarkable light of the estuary, as early as the 18th century. As early as 1810-1820, they discovered the romantic panorama of the medieval town surrounded by two hills (source: click here). There are several famous painters that in love by the landscapes of the town, such as Bonington, Turner, Huet, Leprince, Corot, Isabey, Boudin, Jongkind, Monet, and Eugene Boudin.
Today, there are still many painters that set up their easels alongside the Vieux Bassin, mostly when it’s not raining. Besides enjoying a live painting near the old port, you can also visit and purchase some paintings at the art galleries and workshops in the city center.
Fifth. Take a boat tour
If you want to visit the majestic estuary of the river Seine, you can take a trip with a boat from the old port. There is 2 options for the boat promenade: The Calypso, a 45 minutes trip with only 8€ for adult and 4€ for kids under 12 years old. If you’re afraid taking tiny boat, then you can get the promenade with the Jolie France. It’s an hour and half visit with 12€ for adult and 6€ for kids under 12 years old. Click here for more information.