Baudelaire dreamt of living here in the 19th century. Eugène Boudin captured its every chromatic variation, whilst Mistinguette and Félix Mayol, during the Belle Époque period, used to meet all of Paris seated at café terraces of the old harbour. A land of contrasts between sky and sea, this small, multifaceted Normandy port has retained its festive
nature. © Les Droners
Like many towns on the flowery coast of Normandy, the port of Honfleur has enjoyed considerable economic activity over the centuries. What makes it stand apart from other Calvados harbour towns is the artistic effervescence it has inspired since the 19th century. Baudelaire, Erik Satie, Eugène Boudin, Felix Maillol and Mistinguette all used to congregate in the old harbour cafés and streets.Its proximity to Paris means Honfleur is a place where privileged encounters between a range of personalities were made possible. It quickly became the chic, avant-garde beach resort of the Belle Époque period. Today’s visitors continue to bask in the cultural heritage of its old harbour bars and restaurants. Visitors also come to Honfleur for its historic monuments: the neighbourhood of l’Enclos, a former fortified town, its Salt Granaries, and the magnificent church of Saint Catherine. From Viking invasions, impressionist painters, or great maritime epics, Honfleur offers many a detour through the ages.