Things to Do in Honfleur
St. Catherine’s Church
Sainte-Catherine church is the main place of interest of Honfleur, not to be missed even if you only have a few hours in the City of painters.
Built in the XV th century to replace a stone church destroyed during the Hundred Years War, the Church of St. Catherine is entirely built in wood from the nearby forest.
Its original shape of double hull of overturned boat is due to the excellent knowledge in shipbuilding that had the workers of the time. Thus, the Sainte-Catherine church is the largest wooden church in France .
- Do not miss : its separate steeple made of oak can be visited as an annex to the Eugène Boudin museum.
Take a walk on the Vieux Bassin
The Vieux Bassin is the picturesque name given to the typical Norman port of Honfleur. Its construction in 1681 necessitated the destruction of part of the ramparts, in order to enlarge the haven of beaching of the time.
Today, the Old Basin is one of the city’s flagship tourist attractions, as the poetic spectacle of its houses reflecting in the water has become famous. The houses of the XVII th and XVIII th centuries around the port are listed as historical monuments.
There is no doubt that their narrow facades and their slate roofs will seduce you, while the ships moored in the Vieux Bassin give the impression that time has stopped.
You go to Honfleur for tourism and you like photography? The Vieux Bassin is for me the best spot photo of Honfleur, to be done preferably at night when the lights of the houses are reflected in the water.
Our Lady of Grace
Overlooking Honfleur, the Chapel of Our Lady of Grace was built in the early XVII th century to replace the old chapel destroyed by a landslide of the cliff. It was originally erected by the Duke of Normandy, in thanks for not having died during a violent storm.
Since then, this chapel is venerated and houses paintings, models of boats and an old organ. During the feast of the sailors of Honfleur, around Pentecost, costumed children in sailors climb the hill to offer small models of ships to Our Lady of Grace.
- Do not miss : The panoramic view of the Normandy Bridge, Le Havre and the Seine.
- Address : 989 Côte de Grace, 14600 Equemauville
See the Normandy Bridge
Majestic building erected in 1995, the Normandy Bridge connects Honfleur to Le Havre, a true symbol of the maritime supremacy of the region. It is not a tourist site strictly speaking, but it is worth a look if you are in the vicinity!
It is a cable-stayed bridge that straddles the Seine, 215 m high and 2141 m long, a record for the time. Constructed of concrete and metal, this bridge has four lanes for cars, two pedestrian lanes and two bike lanes. It does not disturb the navigation of boats that go up the Seine, and has become a real icon of the city, appearing on a large number of postcards.
At the heart of Honfleur, the Naturospace is a privileged place to reconstruct the ecosystem of a tropical rainforest.
Home to a dozen species of birds and about sixty species of butterflies in a greenhouse of nearly 800 m2, it is a privileged place to observe rare and tropical specimens.
With observation and patience, you can even spot caterpillars of different species and pupae, in lush vegetation particularly neat. And if it’s your lucky day, you can even watch the live birth of a butterfly!
This magical and moving moment is made possible by the Naturospace thanks to a team anxious to promote the natural reproduction of these insects.
- Visiting time : 3/4 hour to 1 hour
- Address : Boulevard Charles V, 14600 Honfleur
If you are interested in visiting, you will find more information on the Naturospace website
The Garden of Personalities
Located on a plot of 10 hectares, the Jardin des Personnalités is a bucolic and cultural walkway between the Old Basin and the dike by the Mayor of Honfleur in 2004.
While wandering in the many paths of the garden, you can cross the busts of famous personalities, native of the small Norman port or having stayed there.
Among those I selected: the painters Claude Monet and Eugène Boudin, the composer Erik Satie, the poet Charles Baudelaire, navigators Samuel de Champlain and Jean Doublet, or Charles V and Jean-Baptiste Colbert.
Visit the Satie Houses
The Satie Houses are a museum dedicated to the composer and musician Erik Satie. This genius, born in 1866 in Honfleur, worked with big names such as Picasso or Braque, and inspired artists such as Debussy and Ravel.
This is probably the most amazing museum I have ever visited! During the visit, you will browse the different rooms with an audioguide that will be triggered according to the room where you are. It’s really immersive!
You will discover musical scenographic scenes mixing the magic of image, sound and light, tracing the artistic career of Erik Satie to make it better known to the public.
Young and old alike will appreciate this poetic show that puts the visitor at the heart of the staging, inviting him to observe but also to live the experience proposed by the Satie Houses .
- Address : 67 Boulevard Charles V, 14600 Honfleur
- Prices : € 6.70 for adults and € 4.70 for children. If several museums of Honfleur interest you, it is possible to buy a museum pass.
More information on the Honfleur museums website (also valid for all other museums!)
The Eugene Boudin Museum
The principal museum of Honfleur takes its name from a child of the city become big: the painter Eugene Boudin. Founded at the end of the XIX th century by Alexandre Dubourg and himself, this museum houses a rich collection of works by Norman painters like Boudin, Courbet, Monet, Dufy or Dubourg.
The seven rooms of the Eugène Boudin Museum are themed and offer an intuitive dive into the heart of the region’s romantic and impressionist painting. One of these rooms is devoted to a remarkable ethnographic collection, bringing together Norman costumes, traditional headdresses or typical furniture.
Address : Rue Man de Bois, 14600 Honfleur
Rates : Depending on the season, to see on the website
The Saint-Léonard church of Honfleur
Built in 1186, the Saint-Léonard church was destroyed during the Hundred Years War. Rebuilt in the early XVI th century, this religious building famous Leonard, a young nobleman of the court of King Clovis, considered the patron saint of prisoners.
One of the most interesting details of this church is its main portal, a magnificent witness to the wealth of flamboyant Gothic architecture of the time. Its bell tower was rebuilt in dome according to the architectural style in force in the east of France, and contributes to give to the Saint-Leonard church a particular cachet.
A shop selling Calvados
Normandy is famous for its Calvados and Pommeau, alcoholic beverages that delight all taste buds.
Honfleur has several shops offering the sale of these drinks, but also whiskey or Normandy beers. I can only advise you to go to the Cave Normande or Compagnie des Calvados de la Cave Honfleur, to leave with a typical souvenir of the region.
The carousel of Honfleur
The carousel of Honfleur, well known of the locals, settles every year since 1995 in front of the town hall. Its pretty wooden horses are the delight of children but also adults, who gather traditionally around this carousel.
The carousel is present from May to October in the city, before leaving to make a beauty during the winter. He will then entertain the children of Angers at the time of Christmas, then return to take his place in Honfleur.
The city of Honfleur is recognized as being a seaside resort and tourist. Its beach, named Beach of the Booty, is located at the entrance of the city and gives to the Norman coast a small air of the South.
Fully equipped, this beach has showers, cabins to change, equipment for rent, as well as free parking and a playground for children. During the summer months, the little ones can have fun in inflatable games while the older ones relax in the food court.
The Marine Museum
Located in the oldest church in Honfleur, the Saint-Etienne church facing the Vieux Bassin, this museum houses a large collection of models, engravings and objects of all kinds relating to the sea.
The treasures of the Navy Museum, mainly from donations and bequests, allow to learn more about the life of the sailors of Honfleur, as well as the typical activities of the time: fishing, maritime trade, shipbuilding etc.
- Address : 11 Quai Saint-Etienne, 14600 Honfleur
- Prices : € 4.20 for adults and € 2.90 for children and students.
Visit Honfleur salt granaries
The famous salt granaries of Honfleur were built in 1670 with stones from the ramparts of the city. They stored up to 10,000 tonnes of salt, which was then used to keep cod after fishing.
Formerly three in number, there are only two granaries today that host exhibitions, concerts or conferences.
Discover the local gastronomy
If you go to Honfleur for tourism, do not forget to take the opportunity to discover the local gastronomy!
And yes, Honfleur is located in the department of Calvados, famous for producing the best products of the Norman soil. Discover authentic flavors from its fertile lands, and amaze your taste buds.
Among the dishes not to miss:
- The local apple and the alcohols it can make
- The excellent products of the sea that delight lovers
- Delicatessen and quality
- The milk produced by Norman cows and the excellent cheeses that come from it, not to mention the sweet pleasures such as milk jam or Isigny caramel.
Things to do in Honfleur in 1 day
If you only have one day in Honfleur, you will have to go to the essentials:
- Start the morning with a visit to the chapel of Notre-Dame de Grâce, to enjoy a magnificent panorama of Honfleur, with a light that lends itself well to photographs.
- Continue with a visit to St. Catherine’s Church ,
- And enjoy a nice lunch on the terrace on one of the quays of the Old Basin, to soak up its tall and narrow houses so typical.
- If you have children, do not hesitate to visit Naturospace ,
- And end the day with a visit to the Satie Houses .
Things to do in Honfleur in 2 days
In 2 days in Honfleu, you can afford to stroll through the picturesque streets of the city. Take the time to discover the forgotten sights of Honfleur, you will not regret it.
- For the first day, you can take the same route as for the city tour in 1 day.
- The next day, stroll through the city and let yourself be guided by your steps. Visit the Eugène Boudinmuseum if you are an art lover,
- Do your shopping in one of the cellars selling the excellent Calvados of the region,
- And take your children to the old carousel of the city, present between May and October.
- Spend the afternoon at Butin Beach if weather permits,
- And relax at the end of the day in the Jardin des Personnalités .
Honfleur Tourist Office
When you arrive in town, it is always a good idea to go to the tourist office, if only to get a tourist map of the city.
In Honfleur, the tourist office is located near the Vieux Bassin.
Here is the address: Quai Lepaulmier, 14600 Honfleur, France
Where to Stay in Honfleur
Here is my selection of the best hotels in Honfleur according to your budget. Discover now where to stay in Honfleur during your stay!
- Hotel Campanile Honfleur : Located 1.5 km from the city center of Honfleur. Simple hotel of a very famous chain with basic but bright room from 48 € per night, breakfast surcharge 10 €. This is the cheapest you can find in Honfleur. More: quiet, rich breakfast buffet and free parking.
- Motel les Bleuets : Located 20 minutes walk from the city center. From the outside it looks like a very classic motel but inside the rooms are modern, comfortable and tastefully decorated. It’s a pleasant surprise! Room from 86 € per night, breakfast included. Goodies: a perfect breakfast and free parking. The best value for money in the city!
- Sainte Catherine Court : Located 2 minutes walk from the harbor. Former convent converted into a guest house that has retained all its historic charm. Very spacious room with atypical decor, for an overnight stay from 130 € with breakfast included. Pros: courtyard with a nice garden, excellent breakfast and location. This is my favorite in Honfleur!
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And you, what did you plan to visit in Honfleur?