Honfleur was first occupied by the Vikings when they invaded the north of Gaul in the 9th century and established a colony which became known as the land of the North Men, or Normandy. In the following centuries the town was a prosperous trading and fishing port, from which French navigators set out to explore the New World - notably Champlain, who in 1608 set out on an expedition to North America, during which he founded the French settlement in Quebec.
Honfleur’s fortunes declined in the 19th century due to the Napoleonic wars. Although shipping activities continued on a small scale, the town never grew in size, and consequently was bypassed as a quiet backwater, leaving much of its historic heritage intact. The town’s beauty has long attracted artists, with works of art to be found in the town’s many museums and galleries. Honfleur takes particular pride in its Impressionist roots – Claude Monet’s mentor Eugène Boudin was born in the town, and Monet and his contemporaries would often set up their easels at the Ferme Saint-Siméon on the hill above Honfleur, to capture the beautiful light of the Seine estuary.
Just over an hour away from Honfleur, the town of Bayeux – specifically the Bayeux Tapestry Museum – is home to the Bayeux Tapestry. The legendary embroided cloth is nearly 70 metres in length and depicts the events leading up to the Norman conquest of England, culminating in the Battle of Hastings.
Honfleur is known for its impressionist painters, the most well-known being Monet.
Saint Catherine’s church is made entirely of wood and is in fact France’s largest timber-built church. The previous stone church was destroyed during the hundred years’ war and was replaced with the new wooden church in the late 15th century. Opposite the church is a separate bell tower made of oak.
Honfleur is home to many other churches, including the Chapel of Notre Dame de Grace. The Chapel was re-built in 1615 by sailors and local people, and is a pilgrimage site to Our Lady of Grace. The chapel is dedicated to protecting sailors and fishermen. It sits on a hill and is surrounded by trees, providing spectacular views.
Cruises to Honfleur
French Rivers & Bordeaux • L2229
- Enjoy local wines in Bordeaux and Getxo
- From Rouen, tour to the culinary hotspot of Paris
- Sail through the size-restricted Seine River
Discover Normandy in Five nights • M2310
- Tour to Paris and see the city’s famous landmarks
- Explore the pretty harbour in Honfleur
- Enjoy hours of scenic cruising on the River Seine
France Short Break • L2227
- A memorable journey along France’s beautiful River Seine
- Visit Rouen to delve into its rich history
- After scenic cruising the Seine, explore pretty Honfleur
Explore Western Europe Cities & Rivers • S2231
- Visit Christmas Markets in Hamburg
- Sample wine, calvados & camembert in Honfleur
- Explore the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam
French Rivers with Bordeaux • L2225A
- Scenic cruise along the Gironde, Garonne & Seine
- Tour to Paris from Rouen
- Discover the historical sights of beautiful Bordeaux
French Rivers of Normandy and Bordeaux • L2308
- Discover the many historical sights of beautiful Bordeaux
- Relax as you cruise serenely along the River Seine
- From Rouen, perhaps visit Paris to see the Eiffel Tower or Arc de Triomphe
Scenic Rivers of France & Into the Heart of Seville • M2317
- Take in the scenery of narrow, shallow rivers thanks to Braemar’s smaller size
- Sail Spain’s Guadalquivir River all the way to Seville, the home of Flamenco dancing
- In France, visit historic Rouen and Honfleur on the Seine River, and Nantes on the Loire.
French Cities & Cruising the Seine & Loire Rivers • M2323
- Experience scenic river cruising on the Loire, Seine and Western Scheldt rivers
- Revel in the beauty of the Loire Valley from Nantes, and feel the history of Rouen
- Visit Antwerp, for the famous Diamond District and Belgian chocolate and beer
Bank Holiday Escape to France & the River Seine • M2411
- Take in the historic sites of enchanting Rouen and pretty Honfleur
- You could tour to Paris, Monet’s house and gardens, and sample authentic camembert and calvados too
- Experience serene cruising through countryside scenes along the River Seine