Historic Honfleur in northern France's Lower Normandy region is a quaint little port with a rich cultural and artistic heritage. One of France’s most visited towns, Honfleur – with its beautiful 15th and 16th century architecture and distinctive harbour – was the inspiration for Impressionist painters and poets.
Vieux-Bassin, Honfleur’s colourful old harbour, is lined with 16th to 18th-century lofty slate-and-timber fronted houses. Its sloping cobbled streets have long been a subject for artists including Claude Monet and native son, Eugène Boudin.[ReadMoreMob]
A visit to the 15th century St. Catherine's Church, a vaulted timber structure erected by shipbuilders, is a must, as is the maritime museum and Notre Dame de Grâce – a 17th century chapel containing various paintings and models. The chapel also offers fabulous views of the town, the Seine estuary and the impressively-engineered Normandy Bridge that crosses it.
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.