Well it seemed quite appropriate to finish our amazing trip around Europe with a return visit to Honfleur. It’s one of our firm favourites, we have been here many times so feel quite at home. This was our first stop after we got off the train in Calais last October. It was a big drive to get here from the Loire through some pretty grotty weather. We arrived around 4pm, just as the sun was breaking through the clouds. It’s a very good Aire here. It has services including electricity for €11 Euros per night. They do like you to stick to the maximum 48 hour limit when the Aire is busy. Even though it is a big place, it often gets packed. NB. A tip! Use a credit card, the machine doesn’t like coins!! Press the big green button with a tick on twice before you put your card in. It baffles most people first time.
I absolutely adore this place. It is bursting with character and colour and as a regular holiday haunt for wealthy Parisians and Yachties, it’s uber stylish. Marvellous for people watching!
It’s quite an upmarket town these days. The eighteenth century slate flat fronted buildings , all at different heights, are squeezed in around the ‘Vieux Bassin’ overlooking the moored boats. It looks and feels like a living film set. There are many cobbled backstreets leading back from the Bassin like a spiders web. You can lose yourself for hours wandering around the many interesting, unique little shops and galleries. My girlie friends would have a ball shopping here.
If shellfish is your bag then this is the place to be. Just about every restaurant serves a sumptuous seafood platter picked from huge heaped tables of fresh produce. Scallops are in abundance. You can buy them and other fish directly from the boats on the quayside most mornings from 8am. There is also a large fish market called L’Hippocamp by the quay which is open all day. It is not as cheap from there though. General market days in Honfleur are Wednesdays and Saturdays. The Saturday market is just brilliant and is spread all through the middle of town with stalls stretching up and down the tangled medieval streets. If you prefer meat to fish, stroll up to the traditional Butchers by the white church to the left of town. His beef is the best I’ve ever tasted and his prices are very reasonable. He speaks perfect English too. He’s very helpful and I guarantee you will leave his shop a satisfied customer.
There are a great many excellent restaurants here, an astonishing number actually for a relatively small place. It’s a foodie’s haven. The ones by the quay attract the cruise boat and coach holiday makers so are always busy and more expensive. I prefer the more atmospheric, back street places and the food is usually better. That said it is great to sit outside around the Bassin on a warm evening, eating and drinking whilst watching the boats come and go and there’s always a brilliant vibe.
The place is absolutely steeped in history. The Eglise St. Catherine in the middle of town is a fabulous old church and belfry tower built almost entirely of wood. The Church of St. Etiennne on the opposite side of the bassin houses the Musee de la Marine. The ancient prison building is now the Musee de Vieux Honfleur. My favourite museum though is the Musee Eugene Boudin. He was an Impressionist Artist born in Honfleur who taught Monet. It doesn’t just exhibit his work, it’s well worth a view, quite fascinating. I could really get into expensive art if I won the lottery!! Until then I shall stick to buying pretty postcards and mounting them with blue tack on my Motorhome wall. Such is life!
It’s our Silver Wedding Anniversary tomorrow so we have to make the tough decision of where to eat. This is one of my favourites although one of us may have to sell a kidney to cover the bill (they sure as hell won’t want my liver!!) Oh well it is a special occasion.
For tonight though, we have fresh scallops bought early this morning straight off the little fishing boat which I’m going to make into Coquille St. Jacques in the shells for starters and a couple of 15 day aged fillet steaks for mains. I shall serve them with my special blue cheese dauphinois potatoes and wild mushrooms cooked in Pate and Calvados. Not too shabby for Motorhome cooking hey! Hope tomorrow’s restaurant can compete with that! Best get my pinny on and get cracking.
As our fabulous Europe adventure is drawing to a close, it’s time to start thinking about the boring practicalities of our return journey. The main pain in the rear is arranging a Veterinary visit for the hound. He has to be given a worming pill and his Passport stamped before he can return to UK. This costs between €15 and €60 so it’s worth shopping around. PS. Don’t tell Dylan he’s a dog.
Just to clarify for anyone visiting Honfleur, Patricia Lardinois is definitely not practising at present due to illness. I have spoken to her today. The Santoria Practice near the Aire is very convenient if you are desperate but be warned, their bill was €58 despite being quoted €41. We are going to try Mailleraye sur Seine as recommended by our friends Brian and Vera from Bakewell.
And so we will be bidding a fond farewell to our dear Honfy until we re-visit in May.
Just to let you all know, I’ve ordered sunshine for UK, I’m bringing a case load back with me next week so get your shades at the ready!
Until next time my smashing readers. Wishing you a very happy day, peace and love ❤️🙂🇫🇷