Thursday, July 16, 2009

Amazing Honfleur (France): The beautiful Harbour

In one word, Honfleur is AMAZING. I fell in love with this seaside town at first sight. From the parking lot, I strolled down the small charming alleyways and then catching a glimpse of the harbour view, all I can say was WOW. Honfleur is like a bigger version of Portofino in Italy!

Breathtaking old port of Honfleur, Le Vieux Bassin facing Sainte-Catherine's quay. This is where expeditions to Quebec, Canada started.

When Dutchman and I retire or have more than the 26 vacation days that we currently have from work for a year, my plan (maybe I should say “our plan” haha) is to buy a yacht, just a small one that can sail through the canals of the Netherlands and down to warm and sunny south of Europe.

Honfleur I know would be a major stop that I will revisit often. Dutchman is remotely enthusiastic about my plan of visiting charismatic villages but when it comes to holiday agendas I am the boss so he might as well shut up =). He actually thinks he has been to Honfleur (he seriously thinks all French villages and seaside towns are the same) and said he will comfirm this with his parents if this was the place where they came across an English couple lugging their baggage and shouting and cursing at each other in the harbour, haha. Um, quite interesting what children retain in their memory banks. He pretty much did not recollect anything about the place except for the fighting couple.

I had a great time exploring Honfleur, pronounced as “on-flue” with a twang on the end. In addition to the French not pronouncing the last letter in a word, they also don’t pronounce the letter H. The harbour has a very picturesque setting that is captured a hundred times by painters young and old. Even the likes of Monet and Courbet have preserved the ageless beauty of Honfleur on canvas.

Interestingly, Honfleur is known to be one of the slave trading ports during the medieval period. I was just reading a site that said it was the Dutch that brought the first African slaves to the USA, then called new world or New Amsterdam, now better known as New York.

And did you know? Expeditions to Quebec, Canada started in Honfleur, too.

Catching Honfleur on canvas, the harbour is a favourite subject by painters.

The harbour is the main tourist attraction of Honfleur!

More of Honfleur in my next entries =)

Travel Period: May 2009
Destination: Honfleur (Lower Normandy), France

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