We visited Honfleur on our cruise a couple of years ago and we loved the town. It is a really lovely, charming place and I would recommend that you go if you have the chance. We shared a taxi with another couple and we spent about four hours there. We would have loved more time as the shops are closed over the lunch hour, but the other couple wanted to return earlier. We had lunch at a cafe on the canal and overall had a great day.
We were just there twice (in one day) while on a port stop in LeHavre this past April. Honfleur is a delightful seaside town, and we particularly enjoyed the cafes along the harbor. We were not impressed with any of the tours, so we decided to simply rent a car in LeHavre and go off on our own (we have driven many times in France and Europe). We drove over to Honfleur in the morning, and after enjoying cafe au Lait in a harbor-view cafe we continued to drive along the coast road and eventually explored both Trouville and Deuville. Around noon we decided to drive back to Honfleur since we liked some of the menus of those harbor cafes (the moules were wonderful). After lunch and a stroll around town we drove all the way up to Etratat...and than on to Fecamp, and finally brought the car back to LeHavre around 6pm. A wonderul day, and the car cost us about $85 which made for a relatively cheap day compared to the cruise tours. Honfluer is very picturesque, and great for the cafes. The shops were typical sea resort tourist shops..which means OK but not great. Of the famous sea resorts in this area Honfleur certainly has the most charm...although we did enjoy Deuville since they were having market day.
Thanks for all the good info. How long does it take to get to Honfleur by car from LeHavre and do you think we could easily get a taxi back and forth or should we go with the ship excursion? You sound familiar with the area. Is there anything else you suggest we see or do in that area? We have about 11 hours in port but don't want to do the 2.5 hours on bus to Paris.
Honfleur is actually quite close to LeHavre. I recall we made the drive in about 20 minutes. One convenient thing was that the Normandy Bridge (the way out of LeHavre to Honfleur) was on the same side of town as our rental car agency (we used Budget) so it was a pretty fast exit from LeHavre. From the pier (by taxi) it would still be under a half hour...although traffic in LeHavre could add a few minutes. I have warned several times on these boards that taxis in France (and also in almost any other Western Europe country) are quite expensive so for trips that are not local (like going to Honfleur) make sure you get a price before you get in the taxi. If I had never been to LeHavre (we have been there several times on ships and on land doing our own thing) and did not want to make the trek to Paris, than my first choice would be to go to Normandy. The only reason we did Honfleur, Deuville, Etretat, and Fecamp was that we had already been to Normandy and Giverny (Monet's home) and just wanted to see something new. Keep in mind that towns like Honfleur are simply sea resorts, and in many ways they are similar to sea resorts in the USA. While we were enjoying our morning coffee in Honfleur, we met 4 other passengers who also had rented a car for the day. They had stopped in Honfleur for their coffee, but than they were driving west to Normandy to see the beaches, cemetery, and other D-Day sites. That is actually a great itinerary.
As Hank suggested, if you take a taxi to Honfleur, it's best to confirm the cost beforehand. When we went, my husband and the other fellow negotiated a price with the driver and made arrangements for him to return to pick us up at a specified time.
I recall that the drive was between 20 and 30 minutes from the port.
I am not aware of any trains that do that coastal itinerary. In fact, we have found trains to be very overrated by some travelers in that they really do limit where you can go, and the schedules are not always convenient. If you don't want to rent a car than you next best bet would be to hire a private car/driver. Expect to pay 3 to 5 times the cost of a rental car for that option if you want a driver for the day.
We have been to Honflour and LOVED IT!!!! Want to return someday. All that was written by Hank and others is so true. We went by train from Paris and had a delightful trip. There is a poet that hangs out at a lovely restaurant there, forget the name of the restaurant but his name is Gregoire Brainin dit Moineau. He is the most awesome person/poet to visit with. Perhaps if you use his name someone can tell you the restaurant. It was a wonderful place, as well. Thank you Hank for all the information you share. I am going on a cruise to the Greek Isles and Italy in Oct. and have learned so much from you. What a world traveler. One can tell that you love your travels and you are willing to share with others. Thanks.
Originally posted by Hank:
Honfleur is a delightful seaside town, Honfluer is very picturesque, and great for the cafes. Of the famous sea resorts in this area Honfleur certainly has the most charm...
yes I can agree with the above, went to Honfleur a few yesrs ago in late spring and enjoyed being there ....seeing artists painting views of the harbour etc.
Don't forget the area is famous for Calvados brandy....a regional drink made from apples.
enjoy your visit .....regards jack