Driving guides

Driving to Honfleur

This delightful harbour town in Normandy is one of France’s most popular destinations. Driving to Honfleur from Calais takes around three hours, but the memories last a lifetime.

Honfleur is a beautiful harbour town overlooking the Seine estuary. Its colourful harbourside houses and reflective waters have made Honfleur a magnet for artists and tourists alike.

Honfleur is France’s third most popular tourist destination and a favourite day trip spot for Parisians seeking a few sun kissed hours by the water. The summer is naturally the most popular time for visiting Honfleur. Meander your way through the bustling streets, watch the boats bobbing in the harbour, and immerse yourself in the atmosphere of this perfect summer getaway.

Where is Honfleur?

Honfleur is around an hour’s drive from Rouen in the Calvados department of Normandy. Honfleur is more or less opposite the port of Le Havre, on the southern side of the Crique de Rouen, where the Seine meets the English Channel.

Driving from Calais to Honfleur

Honfleur is a drive of around three hours and 10 minutes from our Eurotunnel Le Shuttle terminal at Calais.

Via A16, A28 and A29

Your route (with tolls) starts out on the attractive road along the Opal Coast, before picking up the A28 at Abbeville. The final approach on the Pont de Normandie over the Seine makes for a fitting finale for your trip. This recommended route has a driving distance of 275 km.

Things to see and do in Honfleur

Le Vieux-Bassin (Old Port)

The Vieux-Bassin is the most colourful and famous part of Honfleur

Any trip to Honfleur has to include a visit to the famous Vieux-Bassin, the town’s old harbour. Lined with narrow, tall houses once owned by the wealthy elite (it was considered a huge privilege to have a home that directly faced the water), it’s a bright, bustling place full of colour and charm.

Venture here for a walk in the sunshine, stopping off at a local café for a drink or a bite to eat and marvel at the architecture. Just a short walk from Vieux-Bassin is the fishing port, Avant Port, where the fishermen sell their daily catch at Marché au Poisson.

Notre-Dame de Grâce Chapel

Every town or city in France worth visiting has a beautiful cathedral or chapel and Honfleur is no different. The Notre-Dame de Grâce Chapel is a stunning 17th-century piece of history, built on a 100m high hill, so you get incredible panoramic views of the town below.

The maritime history can be seen everywhere here, including the chapel. Inside you will find several boats strung up from the ceiling, and the stained glassed windows adorned with maritime images.

Eugène Boudin Museum

Honfleur was a renowned spot for artists, especially the Pre-Impressionists, Realists and Impressionists. Claude Monet, Gustave Courbet and Eugéne Boudin were all inspired by Honfleur, and it was Boudin himself who endowed this municipal museum with a prestigious legacy of his own work in 1899.

Today the Eugène Boudin Museum includes works by Monet, as well as many other painters drawn to the stormy seas, tormented skies and quiet maritime scenes of Honfleur. Located in a church that offers panoramic views of Honfleur, the museum is open every day except Tuesdays.

Naturospace

150 species of tropical butterflies flutter through Naturospace

In such a heavenly place as Honfleur, you might find that you want to really embrace nature. You’re in luck, as the town is home to the amazing Naturospace, a temperature-controlled butterfly house filled with tropical species of butterflies and birds.

Over 150 species of butterflies can be seen in Naturospace, from tropical regions of the world such as Central America, South East Asia and Africa. Exotic birds also fly freely around the house, which is filled with an outstanding collection of tropical plants, many of them rare varieties.

L’Église Sainte-Catherine (St Catherine’s Church)

A bell tower and clock supported by a wooden building in a town square on a summer’s day

L’Église Sainte-Catherine is notable for being the largest wooden church in France. It dates from the 15th century, was built by the town’s fishermen and shipbuilders, and has a maritime feel – it has the shape of an overturned double hull, and contains artefacts from the town’s seafaring past.

A ticket to the Eugène Boudin Museum also includes entry to the church and bell tower, a campanile held aloft with wooden struts with a clock which stands behind the church.

Les Maisons Satie

The composer and pianist Erik Satie was born in Honfleur in 1866, and this unassuming half-timbered house is now a museum dedicated to Satie. You may have heard Satie’s lilting, haunting music in films and TV, and the curators of Les Maisons Satie have created an arresting, original exploration of Satie’s life and work.

Visitors walk around the museum with headphones playing Satie’s music. This is not your average ‘house where a famous person lived’ museum: there is a room where a white piano plays by itself, and most rooms incorporate multi-media installations to evoke the enigmatic spirit of Satie.

Les Maisons Satie, 67 bd Charles V, 14600, Honfleur.

See the Pont de Normandie

If you are driving from Calais to Honfleur, you will cross the Pont de Normandie – and you will probably never forget it. This road bridge across the Seine was completed in 1995 and at the time of its construction was the longest cable-stayed bridge in the world, at 2.1km. The 856 metres between its two piers was also then a record.

The bridge is part of the A29 motorway toll road, but cyclists can use the Pont de Normandie for free and there is a pedestrian walkway. Walkers have stunning views of the Seine estuary from the highest point of the bridge.

Eating and drinking in Honfleur

From seafood to cheeses and the ubiquitous Calvados, you won’t go hungry or thirsty in Honfleur!

While there are plenty of places to eat in the main part of town, if you head down a small alley just off the Rue Brûlée you will come upon Le Bréard, a modern restaurant offering a beautifully presented menu of quirky courses. Try the oysters to start, and then the passion fruit soufflé for a real gourmet treat.

Le Perroquet Vert is one of the best bars and restaurants in town. Overlooking the Vieux-Bassin, it is a bright and friendly spot to come for a cold drink, light bite or something more substantial. Its outdoor tables fill up quickly on a summer’s day, so grab one while you can! 

A glass of a dark alcoholic spirit with apples around it

Places to stay in Honfleur

There is plentiful accommodation options in Honfleur, to suit every budget. Here are just two ideas of places to stay.

Les Maisons de Léa

Slap back in the centre of town, next to the bell tower, Les Maisons de Léa is the perfect place to stay if you are visting Honfleur for a few days. You can relax in 4-star luxury, dine in style at the hotel’s restaurant and after a hard day’s sightseeing, unwind in the hotel spa. Spoil yourself with a treatment for two in the atmospheric surroundings of the hotel’s vaulted cellar.

A L'École Buissonniere

For a beautiful but unique place to stay, spend a few nights at à L'École Buissonniere. Once a school house, it's now a beautiful B&B, with a pretty outdoor courtyard and rooms decorated with original timber beams, exposed brickwork and relaxing bathrooms. There is parking, but there is a charge per night, so remember to factor that into your budget.

Half-timbered houses in a cobbled street, with flowers growing up the walls and in window boxes

Visit Honfleur with Eurotunnel Le Shuttle

Honfleur is a stunning destination for a road trip, and the journey starts with Eurotunnel Le Shuttle and a crossing from Folkestone to Calais in only 35 minutes. Check out our full range of driving guides for trips across Europe.

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More to explore in Normandy

Driving to Honfleur

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