Honfleur, Normandy

On the road around 11am with a plan to drive straight to Honfleur which is about 120km south west but still in Normandy. We have a campsite provisionally booked which is a bit far out of the town but we are hoping to stay right in the centre if possible at the local Aire.

We journey on toll roads today for speed and to avoid winding and hilly roads. Travel over some huge humped bridges on the way, one so high it was covered in cloud!

Arrive at the Aire in Honfleur which is rammed and basically a huge carpark with a few pitches with electricity. We are told by a local that it’s probably full but we have a look and find a pitch with easy access! Feeling lucky as it’s Bastille Day after all. No power available but that’s ok as we can use gas for the fridge and 12v power for the rest. RV’s are parked like sardines but each pitch is marked which helps a lot and it’s so handy for the town and only €12 for 24 hours.

We have a butty and a cuppa and then wander into Honfleur passing huge hotel barges that travel up and down the River Seine. The port is a series of basins linked to the river. It’s a very pretty sight with the Town Hall covered in window boxes and restaurants and shops running three sides around the Vieux Bassin dock. There’s all sorts of yachts moored up many with huge masts and rigging decorated with flags. How do yacht designers decide how long a mast should be, it’s a mystery. Absolutely heaving on this Bank holiday with people bustling too and fro and many sitting enjoying a late lunch, drinks and ice-cream.

River barge
Hotel D’Ville

After a wander around spotting some lovely art we visit the largest wooden church in France, St Catherine’s, which has been standing since the 15C replacing a stone built version destroyed in the 100 years war. It’s lovely inside and has many candles burning in lots of small altars. T is happy to light one to St Anthony his fave and namesake.

St Catherine’s
Anthony and St Anthony

We find a spot dockside for a couple of beers and some fab chips before wandering back to the van via a small supermarket. The fridge is pretty bare now but we plan to go shopping tomorrow so only pick up milk and ice.

Waiting for his chips!

A lie down in the van and a read as it’s warm work wandering in the heat. We rouse ourselves around 7:45pm get changed and walk back in. Find two lovely seats right on the dockside with great views and enjoy a drink. First aperol spritz of the holiday for me. Unfortunately food has finished here at 8pm. We move on and manage to find another restaurant easily enough and avoid having to queue. The staff are rushed off their feet but eventually we get a drink and order food. Moules in cider for T which seem to be an Honfleur speciality. Loiter over our food and drink and watch the lantern parade until we’re almost thrown out at 10:45pm. Not bad as the fireworks are due to start at 11pm.

Lantern parade

Find a good spot to watch the show. Crowds are gathered all around the dock. A bit of a slow start to the sparkles but they certainly finish with a flourish and bang.

It’s less than 10 minutes to walk back to our van and bed. A fab day.

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