Honfleur & Rouen
July 7, 2019
We departed the fantastic bed and breakfast in Arromanche-les-Bains that we called home for the past 3 nights and said au revoir setting out for Rouen, with a stop in Honfluer.
The 1.5 hour drive from the beaches was a nice drive and we arrived into the port town of Honfleur around 2pm. We have definitely learned the hard way that France serves lunch from 11am – 2pm and then the local restaurants shut down until dinner around 7pm. After parking and walking into the shopping area, we found ourselves hungry and unable to locate an open restaurant serving lunch. After aimlessly searching, with the assistance of friendly restauranteurs (closed ones) we found a nice cafe serving galettes and crepes. After lunch we headed to the marina to further explore Honfleur.
The town is very beautiful and picturesque. Cobblestone streets, lovely custom boutiques and many cafes and brasseries. We enjoyed exploring the nooks and crannies of this little town and found some beautiful unexpected churches within. St. Catherine’s a Catholic cathedral in the center of the town is a small half-timbered renaissance church built in the 15th century completely from wood due to lack of resources after the Hundred Years war. The 2nd church we came across was a little out of town near the entrance to the marina, St. Leonards. Dating back to the Middle Ages and worn and torn on the outside from years of abuse during multiple wars, the inside reveals some beautiful frescoes, a fabulous alter and stained glass windows.
We finished our drive to Rouen, a large town on the Seine, in fact it is the busiest city we have seen since leaving Paris. Housing a historic quarter, surrounded by modern skyscrapers, and an impressive Notre Dame cathedral, the town is best known for its role in the trial and burning of Joan of Arc.
We checked into our hotel within the historic quarter next to the Notre Dame cathedral and headed out for some dinner. We found a Parisian style cafe in the Cathedral square, “Pauls Brasserie” and sat down, alfresco, for a long (this is France) relaxing meal. We found the restaurant service to be good, affordable and the food was enjoyable. We would recommend a visit if in the area. After dinner, we crossed the square to find a seat in front of the Cathedral which offers a nightly illuminations show on the front facade of the Cathedral. We were a little disappointed since we were expecting the show to tell the story of the Cathedral or the Rouen area but were treated to the story of man from creation to modern time. We were however, pleasantly surprised when at the end of the first showing a 2nd show began, which did tell the story of the Vikings arriving to France and their conquest of the area, which became Normandy. An enjoyable end to a long day of exploring.