After much research and map-reading we chose Honfleur as our homebase for five nights in Normandy. Honfleur puts you a little over an hour from Giverny, within an hour of Rouen, D-Day sights, Caen, and Bayeux, and about two hours from Mont Saint-Michel.
We stayed at the serene Hotel La Maison de Lucie. What a wonderful choice! Our room had a private terrace, private bath, sitting area – all picture-perfect. We enjoyed evening drinks on the terrace with the nearby fountain adding to the peaceful atmosphere.
Breakfast was our favorite time of the day at the hotel. We were treated to a basket of freshly baked breads, baguettes, and croissants. As a special treat on two mornings we even had pain au chocolat added to the basket. The breads were accompanied by jams, freshly brewed coffee, and freshly squeezed orange juice. We enjoyed this breakfast in the courtyard, or on rainy days inside in the wonderfully and whimsically decorated common areas.
Honfleur is home to the Vieux-Bassin Boat Basin. This is the last stop for the Seine before it meets the English Channel. This is also where Samuel de Champlain left from when he embarked on his trip to discover Quebec. This Basin is a painter’s and photographer’s dream with tall, timbered buildings, many bistros serving picturesque meals, ice cream and gelato stands, souvenir shops and lots of sailboats dotted all around. It is understandable why so many impressionist artists found Honfleur inspiring.
St. Catherine’s Church also calls Honfleur home. This church has a unique architectural style. With Honfleur being a boating town and many shipbuilders living there, when it was time to build a church they did what the knew best – built a boat! When inside the church as you look up at the ceiling you’ll see they built two attached boats with walls – if you flip the church upside down it will float!
Honfleur does not want for restaurants, shops, sights or hotels. You’ll find a wide variety of bistros, each with a different concentration on their menu from mussels, to traditional savory crepes and croque sandwiches to more American style burgers and pizzas. We had no issues finding a unique dinner experience each of our five nights.
Should you choose to make Honfleur your homebase while in Normandy as we did you will be sure to be happy with your choice.
- If you are driving be prepared – Honfleur streets are narrow – at times a little over 6-7’ wide. Be patient and prepared with directions and maps.
- On the topic of maps, bring your GPS with maps pre-programmed, but also print-outs from Google. There will be times you rely on the printouts more than the GPS.