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Honfleur - The Vieux Bassin

Honfleur is a town surrounding a beautiful little 17th-century harbour in Calvados, Lower Normandy. It is still active as a fishing port and marina. The town has preserved many historic and traditional buildings and houses some interesting museums, churches and monuments.


Detail of the buildings lining the harbour

From east to west, here are the areas of Honfleur:

  • Saint-Léonard with the eponymous church behind the tourist office and the open-air wash house.
  • L’Enclos with the old port (Vieux Bassin), the Lieutenance, the church of Saint-Etienne (now a marine museum) and the salt halls (Greniers à Sel).
  • Sainte-Catherine: around the largest wooden church with a separate belltower in France are narrow streets with the best restaurants and art galleries.
  • The sea wall, bordered with well-kept parks, makes a pleasant walk along the mouth of the Seine.
  • Côte de Grâce is a hill at about 1.5 km (0.93 mi) from the town that offers beautiful views on Honfleur, the Seine, the Pont de Normandie and Le Havre

The local tourist office provides helpful advice and a free town plan which indicates three self-guided walking tours lasting 1.5-2 hours. Bureau d'Accueil de Honfleur, Quai Lepaulmier, +33 2 31 89 23 30,

Get in[edit]

  • 23 km south of Le Havre via the Pont de Normandie
  • 64 km north-east of Caen
  • 184 km north of Le Mans
  • 194 km west of Paris via the A13


Get around[edit]


Sainte-Catherine church
  • Le Vieux Bassin et la Lieutenance. Old harbour and port authority buildings. Charming but monopolised by restaurant terraces.
  • Sainte-Catherine church. This church was built in wood by ships' carpenters around 1500. The two parallel vaults take the shape of an upturned hull.
The wooden bell tower
  • Clocher Sainte-Catherine (bell tower). Summer (and winter weekends): 10:00-12:00 and 14:00-18:00, winter weekdays 14:30-17:00, closed Tuesdays. This wooden bell tower is separated from the main church.
  • Musée Eugène Boudin (Eugène Boudin Museum), Place Erik Satie, +33 2 31 89 54 00, . Summer (and winter weekends): 10:00-12:00 and 14:00-18:00, winter weekdays: 14:00-17:30, closed Tuesdays. Eugene Boudin is one of the forerunners of the Impressionist movement. The museum houses several interesting examples of the painter's works, although most of his masterpieces are to be found scattered in galleries elsewhere. Other notable artists featured in the permanent collection include Jean-Baptiste Corot, Paul Huet,Charles-François Daubigny, Gustave Courbet, Johan-Barthold Jongkind and Claude Monet. The museum also hosts temporary exhibitions that shed light on the work of artists who have worked in Normandy. Audioguides available in French and English.
  • Maisons Satie (Satie museum), 67 boulevard Charles V (by foot from Sainte-Catherine church take the rue de l’Homme de Bois and turn right at the sign), +33 2 31 89 11 11, fax: +33 2 31 89 09 99, . Summer 10:00-19:00, winter 11:00-18:00; closed on Tuesday. A surrealist walk into Satie’s music and wit. The composer Erik Satie was born in this house in Honfleur in 1866. His life is told (over free audio phones - in French by Michel Lonsdale, English version also available) from room to room, with many anecdotes and music samples. You’ll even see his ghost playing his music on a white piano. Allow one hour to make the tour. €4.00.
  • Le Jardin des Personnalités (the Garden of Personalities). A nice well-kept garden down by the mouth of the Seine filled with busts of some of the famous inhabitants of Honfleur. At the rear of the garden, a small path leads to the center of a marsh, where you can enjoy the quiet and look for birds.
  • Le Jardin Retrouvé (public garden). 8am till sunset. Along the bank of the Seine, a nice garden with swings for the children.
  • Naturospace (live butterflies garden), +33 2 31 81 77 00, fax: +33 2 31 81 77 01. An indoor tropical garden with hundreds of butterflies; charming, ideal on a rainy day. €8.90.
  • Musée de la Marine (Marine Museum), quai Saint-Etienne (on the Vieux Bassin), +33 2 31 89 14 12. Closed Mondays. In the unconsecrated Saint-Etienne church (14th century), an exhibit of model boats and other souvenirs of the sailor's life.
  • Normandy Culture & Ethnography Museum (installed in the former prison), rue de la Prison (behind Saint-Etienne church), +33 2 31 89 14 12. The museum recreates life in old Normandy.
  • Pont de Normandie (out of town, direction Le Havre). Impressive bridge over the Seine (toll €5.10).
  • Notre Dame de Grâce chapel (on the hill Côte de Grâce, south-west of Honfleur). An old chapel built by Richard II and rebuilt in 1615 on the hill with beautiful views over the town and the Seine.



  • Post Office: 7 cours Albert-Manuel (500 m south-west from the quai Sainte-Catherine), weekdays 08:30–12:00 & 13:30–18:00, Sa 08:30-12:00
  • Open markets
    • Bio Market, place Sainte-Catherine, each Wednesday 08:30 to 13:00
    • Traditional Market, Sainte-Catherine area, each Saturday 08:30 to 13:00
    • Fish Market, harbour, each Saturday 08:30 to 13:00
  • Compagnie des Calvados, 19 rue de la Ville, +33 2 31 89 57 56. Calvados tasting, for the serious connoisseur. You’ll find here all vintages over the last sixty years. €50–300.
  • Goutte de pluie (contemporary steel jewellery), rue de l’Homme de Bois. €50–100.
  • Art galleries: Looking for an expensive work of art? Honfleur is the place to be, with dozens of art galleries. Some of the most interesting ones are in the rue du Dauphin.


There are more than 100 restaurants in Honfleur, many of them clustered around the Vieux Bassin or near Sainte-Catherine church.

  • La Commanderie, place Sainte-Catherine, +33 2 31 89 14 92. Pancakes and pizzas
  • L’Homme de Bois, 30-32 rue de l’Homme de Bois (near Sainte-Catherine church), +33 2 31 89 75 27. Brasserie, in an old fisherman house; timbered ceiling with exposed beams; oysters, skate wing, floating island. Menu €19 and €25; three-course meal with wine €35.
  • La Tortue, 36 rue de l'Homme de Bois (near Sainte-Catherine church), +33 2 31 89 04 93.
  • Entre Terre et Mer, 12-14 place Hamelin (near the Lieutenance), +33 2 31 89 70 60, fax: +33 2 31 89 40 55, . Classic restaurant with terrace on the street; excellent preparations of live blue lobster. Menu €26, €35 and €51; two-course meal with blue lobster and wine €65.
  • La Fleur de Sel, 17 rue Haute (the rue Haute is below and parallel to the rue de l’Homme de Bois), +33 2 31 89 01 92, fax: +33 2 31 89 01 92. Closed on Tu, W and in January. Classic restaurant with fine cooking: cold soup with tuna and tomatoes, calf’s liver with vegetables duxelle, strawberry soup. Reservation is essential. Menus €26 and €36.
  • Le Bréard, 7 rue du Puits (near Sainte-Catherine church), +33 2 31 89 53 40, fax: +33 2 31 88 60 37, . Closed on Tuesday lunchtime, Wednesday, Thursday lunchtime. Trendy gastronomic restaurant in the artists area of Honfleur; fine and innovative cooking; very fresh fish (turbot €25, sea bass €20). Reservation is essential.i Two-course meal with wine €80.
  • 1 L'escale (0m), Place Arthur Boudin, 3 rue de la Ville (Behind the Hotel de Ville), +33 2 31 89 32 22. Pleasant service and good food. In central Honfleur but a bit quieter than restaurants on the Vieux Bassin. It serves the seafood that is most in place in Honfleur as well as other choices and has a pleasant covered area on the side of a pedestrian street along one side of the square. Menus at €18, €28, €35.
  • La Chaloupe (0m), Vieux Bassin, 14600 Honfleur (At the southwest corner of the Vieux Bassin). One of many similar places along the vieux bassin. A pleasant meal while you people watch is the main attraction. Prices are reasonable for this location and for France and the service fairly quick. There are tables by the waterside with shady umbrellas or you can eat inside. Menus at €18, €28.
  • [dead link] BurgerMan (Le Hamelin), 16, place Hamelin, 14600 Honfleur (50m to the West of the crossroads near the Lieutenance), +33 2 31 89 16 25. Good for a tasty imaginative meal at a reasonable price in a charming well decorated small restaurant right in the centre of Honfleur (but not on the Vieux Bassin). The service is attentive and prompt. Try the Calvados Fermier with the Apple dessert, they work well together. Menus at €16.50, €26.

Further afield

  • Auberge Le Cheval Blanc, 33 rue des Brioleurs, Saint-Gatien-des-Bois (10 km south, on the road to Deauville, on the main street in the centre of the village), +33 2 31 65 16 67, fax: +33 2 31 64 33 26, . Little country restaurant renovated in 2007. Fine regional cooking (whelk salad, duck pâté with pistachio, plaice fillet with cream, roasted guinea fowl fillet). The chef has worked in starry restaurants. Charming welcome by the owner. They also have eight little rooms. Reservation expected.


  • La Petite Chine, 14-16 rue du Dauphin, +33 2 31 89 36 52. for the best scones, crumble and brownies in town; extensive list of teas from India, Taiwan and other countries
  • Vintage cafe, 8 quai des Passagers (between the old harbor and Sainte-Catherine church), +33 2 31 89 05 28, fax: +33 2 31 89 21 95. live jazz music, cocktails, salads


  • La Maison de Lucie, 44 rue des Capucins, +33 2 31 14 40 40, . charming little hotel in the historical center
  • Le Cheval Blanc, 2 quai des Passagers (take the turning off the main road into town following Centre Ville. Next to the Lieutenance), +33 2 31 81 65 00. Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 12:00. Right in the centre next to the waterside, this very old hotel is in the thick of the action with views over the harbour, portside parks and the Lieutenance. It is in an old building, some parts with exposed wooden beams and plasterwork, others more recent and probably dating from the 19th-century parts. The rooms are embedded in this old building as best as possible but fitting in the modern amenities has sometimes been difficult. It is well appointed but the quality of the fittings is variable. Considering the price, the rooms are pleasant but not large. There are few amenities other than the rooms and the breakfast room. There is free wireless broadband. The breakfast arrangements are a little eccentric with wobbly tables supporting a vat of boiling water in which you can freshly boil your own eggs or on which you can squeeze your own fresh orange juice using a (noisy) electric juicing machine as you prepare to enjoy the boiled eggs, continental breakfast or cereals. €145-170.

Bed & Breakfast[edit]

  • Villa Ariane, 29-31 route Emile Renouf (at the entrance of the city, coming from the pont de Normandie), +33 6 70 30 87 86, . Five big and clear rooms in a 19th-century villa, in a big garden. The interior is great and clear, everything has been renovated as it was one hundred years ago. Good location as the house has a private parking and the center of Honfleur is at a fifteen minutes walk. OK but welcome and cleanliness to improve. €110 - 125, continental breakfast included.
  • La Cour Sainte-Catherine, 74 rue du Puits (near Sainte-Catherine church), +33 2 31 89 42 40, . Very central situation. Warm welcome. €65-90.



  • Tourism Office: quai Lepaulmier (on the D580 passing through Honfleur from west to east) +33 2 31 89 23 30, open every day from 10:00 to 17:00 (closed for lunch 12:30 to 14:00 on weekdays)
  • Cyber Pub (internet cafe), 55 rue de la République (the rue de la République leads to the quai Sainte-Catherine), +33 2 31 89 95 83, . Closed on Thursday.

Go next[edit]

This city travel guide to Honfleur is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.