Into the picture-postcard town of Honfleur

About 200 kilometres away from the dazzling lights of Paris lies a modest little town in the Normandy region known as Honfleur. This beautiful town was the subject of several much-loved 19th century paintings by the maestro, Claude Monet, and not much has changed since the 1800s. Honfleur continues to be as stunning as ever and Scenic gives you the unique opportunity to step into the idealistic realms of a Monet, with unforgettable handcrafted itineraries to Northern France on board the award-winning Scenic Gem.

The slower pace in Honfleur gives you more time to appreciate its spectacular harbour that is easily one of the prettiest in all of France. The beautiful Vieux Bassin port dates back to the 17th century, and the colourful fishing boats and historic buildings against the waterfront provide the perfect setting for the many amateur artists lined up on the banks. Honfleur’s highlight is the 15th century Sainte Catherine’s church. An architectural wonder, this is the largest church in France made entirely of timber and vaguely resembles an overturned boat due to being constructed by shipbuilding workers.

Must-see sights to be explored in your free time include the Eugène Boudin Museum, named after the town’s renowned painter and showcasing works by Monet, Courbet, Boudin and Friesz. Also not to be missed is the Maisons Satie Museum, a tribute to the town’s other illustrious resident, composer and pianist Erik Satie.

Honfleur’s location as a gateway from the Seine to the English Channel helped the town play a pivotal role in shaping France’s history during the Hundred Years War. A short distance from Honfleur lie the historic Normandy beaches of the D-Day landings. A visit to the beaches, the British Memorial, which opened June 2021 to commemorate the 77th anniversary of D-Day and the Landing Museum at Arromanches will transport you back to the time of the Battle of Normandy, when over a hundred thousand allied soldiers successfully liberated Western Europe from the clutches of the Nazis.

Picturesque Honfleur is filled with charming attractions. The town’s Pont de Normandie (Normandy Bridge) is an engineering marvel of its time and the half-timbered houses take you right back to the Middle Ages. Honfleur is surrounded by stunning natural beauty and serves as the perfect starting point to travel the rest of Normandy and Northern France. It’s the easiest way to explore the incredible limestone cliffs of the Alabaster Coast that plunge into the English Channel and the art and history of the lovely fishing port of Fécamp. Paris is the starting point for Scenic river cruises on the Seine river through the Honfleur region, including the 11 Day Normandy and Gems of the Seine and the 8 Day Highlights of Normandy and the Seine.