Carnet de Voyage: Family Time in Honfleur

Carnet de Voyage: Family Time in Honfleur

Travel notes from the real France. Carnet de Voyage is a weekly personal travel story in France sent in by readers. If you’d like to write a story for Carnet de Voyage, head here for details on how to submit.

Greetings from the picturesque town of Honfleur, where the charm of Normandy unfolds like a storybook before our eyes. My family and I enjoyed a wonderful trip there to celebrate a milestone birthday and I couldn’t think of a more fitting place than the Vieux Bassin, in the historic heart of this quaint harbor town.

Honfleur, with its cobbled streets and half-timbered houses, seems to have stepped out of a Monet painting. The air is infused with a maritime fragrance, a delightful mix of salty sea breeze and the tangy notes of cheese wafting from the market stalls we strolled through on the weekend. Our journey began at the very heart of this town, where the Vieux Bassin, a centuries-old harbor, serves as a focal point for both locals and visitors alike.

The waterfront is a bustling tapestry of activity, with fishing boats gently bobbing in the water and waterfront cafes lining the quays. As a family, we couldn’t resist the allure of the inviting eateries, and we settled into a charming café with a perfect view of the harbor. Sipping on rich French coffee, we watched the comings and goings of boats and pedestrians.

Wandering through the narrow streets, we discovered hidden gems at every turn. Saint Catherine’s Church, a remarkable wooden structure dating back to the 15th century, captivated us with its unique architecture, a sign of the rich maritime history of the town and a testament to the craftsmanship of its artisans.

One of the highlights of our visit was the Eugene Boudin Museum, dedicated to the renowned Impressionist painter who found inspiration in Honfleur’s landscapes. The museum houses an impressive collection of Boudin’s works, showcasing the artist’s ability to capture the ever-changing moods of the sky and sea. As we strolled through the exhibits, it felt as though we were walking in the footsteps of an artistic genius.

Honfleur’s charm extends beyond its cultural and historical attractions. The town is a haven for art enthusiasts, with numerous galleries dotting the streets. We found ourselves drawn into the vibrant art scene, where local artists showcased their talents in mediums ranging from oil paintings to sculptures. The atmosphere was infused with creativity, and we couldn’t resist bringing a piece of Honfleur’s artistic spirit home with us.

Our exploration of Honfleur wouldn’t be complete without indulging in its culinary delights. The local seafood, sourced fresh from the English Channel, took center stage on our dinner table. From succulent mussels to delicate sea bass, each dish was a celebration of the region’s maritime bounty. We discovered a charming boulangerie that became our daily pilgrimage, offering an irresistible array of baguettes, croissants, and pastries that fueled our adventures.

As the sun dipped below the horizon, casting a warm glow over the harbor, we gathered at the water’s edge to witness a mesmerizing spectacle—the nightly illumination of the Pont de Normandie. The bridge, gracefully spanning the Seine estuary, transformed into a radiant display of lights, reflecting off the water below. It was a fitting finale to our Honfleur experience, a town that had woven its magic into the fabric of our family memories.

Read our other Carnet de Voyage entries here.

Lead photo credit : Honfleur

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