Sunday, June 19, 2016

Time out in Honfleur

Honfleur's Vieux Basin

Much of our visit to Normandy has been about history. We have walked in the footsteps of William the Conqueror and in those of the courageous soldiers who landed here on D-Day. But this sunny spring day isn't about history. Instead we taking some time out to visit the beautiful port of Honfleur.

View of Pont de Normandie from Honfleur. With a central span of 856 meters,
this is the largest cable-stayed bridge in Europe.

Nestled in the Seine estuary valley along France's Côte Fleurie (Flowery Coast), Honfleur's history is inexorably linked with fishing, maritime trade, tourism and with painting. The light here inspired painters Gustave Courbet, Eugène Boudin, Johan Jongking and Claude Monet to form the école de Honfleur, an important precursor to Impressionism.

Sign in Honfleur
Flags flying in Honfleur

Whimsical window in Honfleur

Honfleur's Maritime Museum
Rue de la Prison in Honfleur

The old salt warehouses in Honfleur are now used for exhibitions and other gatherings. Also notable are two of Honfleur's churches. Sainte-Catherine's was built by shipwrights and is France's largest wooden church with a separate bell tower. And a hike up to the Côte de Grâce rewards us with a visit to Notre-Dame de Grâce, a lovely chapel built in the 17th century.

Église Sainte-Catherine in Honfleur, along with its separate bell tower,
is France's largest wooden church.

Interior Église Sainte-Catherine in Honfleur

A house along Charrière de Grâce in Honfleur

Notre-Dame de Grâce in Honfleur was founded by Richard II
and is one of the region's oldest sanctuary chapels.

Bells at Chapelle Notre-Dame de Grâce in Honfleur

Stained-glass window inside Chapelle Notre-Dame
Grâce in Honfleur

Outside chapel at Notre-Dame de Grâce in Honfleur

Architectural detail on the outdoor chapel at
Chapelle Notre-Dame de Grâce in Honfleur

Mossy rooftop on a house along Mont-Joli in Honfleur

In recent years, Honfleur has particularly focused on being an environmental leader. A plant and wildlife conservation area has been created along the city's sea walls and beaches, and the largest tropical butterfly house in France is here. The city also has its share of beautiful parks, and everything seems to be in bloom on the day of our visit.

Jardin Retrouvé in Honfleur

Flower-covered gazebo in Honfleur

Fountain in Honfleur

Marin always has a piece of my heart.

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