7th of August, 2022
It is impossible to leave Normandy without visiting Le Vieux Bassin (The Old Port) and the historic centre of Honfleur. Although our drive back to The Netherlands will be a long one, we decide to take a two-hour break. The streets are packed with tourists on this sunny Sunday morning, but we understand why the town is so popular!
Many famous poets and painters (Baudelaire, Boudin and Monet) worked and lived in Honfleur and they left an important artistic heritage. The ever-changing light on the estuary seems an inspiration for artists. Also the great composer Erik Satie, born in one of the half-timbered ‘maisons Satie’, worked for a while in the pretty town.
There is no shortage of speciality stores, galleries and workshops. We skip the narrow shopping streets and stroll away from the crowd. The best way to find hidden treasures!
The town has a long history and dates from the 11th century. It was occupied by invaders during the Hundred Years War. After the Wars of Religion, the port was a base for several expeditions to the North-American continent. One of the French explorers, Samuel de Champlain, founded Quebec in 1608. During WWII Honfleur was spared from the bombings and survived without any severe damage. It didn’t grow into a major port like Le Havre. One of the reasons was the absence of a railway. Therefor, the small town kept its beauty. Like the 17th century harbour, surrounded with plenty of medieval buildings. Or the historic quarter with half-timbered and old stone houses. Maybe the most unique attraction is the timber church of Sainte-Etienne with the separate wooden belfry.
We leave Honfleur behind and drive the car over the modern bridge, the link between Lower Normandy and the important port and city of Le Havre.
One day we will return to the diversity of this region.
I remember a quote from Claude Lelouch (French film director);
Quand je viens ici, c’est comme si je prenais une douche de mes ennuis
When I come here, it is like all my troubles are washed away
J’adore ce climat
I love this climate
Qui fait fuir les imbéciles,
Which scares away the fools
Ce qui fait que ceux
It means that those who are here
Qui sont la l’apprécient.
Are the ones who appreciate it