Not that the picturesque harbor on the northern coast of
Today, more than a century and a half later, artists still favor a spot at the northeast corner of town beside the Old Dock of the harbor. Here they paint the same scene that has captured the imagination for nearly two hundred years. And yet, somehow each new interpretation seems to maintain a certain individuality despite myriad renditions that have been transferred from palette to canvas over the decades.
When native son Eugene Boudin was advised by Dutch painter Johan Jongkind to practice his craft outdoors, or en plein air, it marked the early beginnings of Impressionism. Later Boudin befriended Claude Monet, who was only 18 at the time, and convinced the young prodigy to give up doing caricatures and concentrate on landscapes. The rest is history.
Monet’s 1872 painting Impression,
Honfleur’s glorious light is typical of the region where white cotton ball clouds can become sinister rolling gray thunderheads in mere minutes. The ever-evolving shades of shadow and light represent the character of Honfleur and provide a kaleidoscope backdrop that rivets the imagination.
Situated on the estuary of the River Seine that flows through
During the 16th and 17th centuries, Honfleur was an important departure point for several major explorations. Binot Paulmierde Gonneville sailed to the coast of Brazil in 1503. Three years later, Jean Denis, who lived in Honfleur, traveled to
That maritime flavor remains an important facet of the appeal of Honfleur today. The tiny seaport thrives with sidewalk cafes, charming galleries, narrow streets and architectural allure.
A walk around the harbor is all the orientation one needs. Just behind the harbor is the Church of Saint-Catherine of
Honfleur has four museums of note. Museum Eugene Boudin pays homage to the master who brought notoriety to the city with his art. Naturally, the town would be incomplete without a
Saturday is market day until 1 p.m. Regional farmers bring fresh meat, fish and produce to the center of town, which adds another distinct layer of personality to Honfleur’s already seductive charms.
Occasionally a festival will pop up, but for the most part Honfleur is content to exist within its bewitching magnetism.
Access to Honfleur must be done by motor transportation, or by boat, but there is rail service to nearby
You see, Honfleur is one of those in-between places … a place that evokes optimism, a place where the whole world just seems to be right.
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About the Author: Bob Taylor is a veteran writer who has traveled throughout the world.
His goal is to visit 100 countries or more during his lifetime.
Read more of Travels with Peabod and Bob Taylor at The
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