Friday 23rd October
At last we have arrived in Honfleur. We’ve sped past it dozens of times and thought afterwards that we really should have made some time to visit but we’ve always been on a mission previously, get to site as quick as we can and forget everything on route.
We left Treport on Wednesday morning in driving rain and strong winds, good choice to take the coast road but it did brighten and we even saw some spots of sun. Stella is programmed to take us on the most fuel efficient route she can but I’m not really sure she understands what that means, twisty roads going up and down mountains doesn’t strike me as being very fuel efficient but she has got us to our overnight stop in Etretat.
Etretat is a small, very old town next to the sea, it did have a small fishing fleet but small boats pulled up onto the beach, no harbour at all. What it does have is three Durdle Doors!
First of all, lots of lovely houses, we’re fairly close to Paris and this is the type of place that would make a lovely summer retreat.
Just a house, as far as we could see, there were no signs to say that it could be something special.
More old houses.
A photo for Clive Brooker, strange the things that excite different people!
Here is Durdle One, not the biggest Durdle that I’ve ever seen but Monet liked it enough to paint it.
Strange sign, take a pebble get a €90 fine but no signs for dogs leaving little messages anywhere!
Part of the small fishing fleet.
Durdle Two – it’s a very long way up to the top but Lucy insisted!
And a lovely view back of Etretat and Durdle One.
Now we’re on to Durdle Three and it was worth the climb. The sun was nearly out, the rain had stopped and we had a lovely afternoon strolling along the cliff tops.
Looking back towards Durdle Two.
This is our aire at Etretat. It’s free and the only services we have are waste bins (which were emptied at 6am). At the end of the no through road is the Police Headquarters and behind the hedge is the main line train line into Paris. The only things we heard were an owl hooting.
We were up with the lark this morning, we had a serious lay in until 9am
The Pont de Normandy, a bridge that has filled me with fear in the past because it looks so steep. Frankie handled the slope far better than my last car.
We’ve ended up in the aire at Honfleur. It’s €11 per night, holds 50 motorhomes on a quiet day, at the moment it is jam packed and there aren’t enough electric points for everyone. There is a tidy little space next to us with hook up but who would want to park next to a crazy inglesi? It is funny to watch them scurrying around and squeezing into spaces that an Italian would turn his nose up at.
We’re right next to the harbour so you get a free shot of random netting.
Father, I am thinking about buying a narrow boat, can you let me know the pro’s and con’s. We did notice that this boat has to get out into the main river (The Seine) and the lock is rather too short so we think that they have to wait for a very high tide so that they can open both lock gates. We couldn’t even see how (or where) they turn this thing around.
In medieval times there was a fortress at Honfleur but with the fortification of Le Havre the fort was removed and this is the last of the remnants guarding the entrance to the old harbour.
The owner of the land on which the fortress had stood sold small plots off which is why all the buildings are very slim but tall.
It is all very picturesque, nearly every shop is a restaurant and most were full. It is school half term at the moment which could be why it is busy at this time of year, in the summer it must be jam packed with people.
We managed to find a park and took lunch, very nice it was too.
It turns out that the park is enormous and very well tended, lovely walks and everywhere was clean. It may be a bit hard to work out but the privet hedges are shaped into boats and each contains a plaque and bust of someone famous who has lived or had a strong influence on the town. There were lots of boats, far more than you would have thought but then Honfleur was the birthplace and home of Boudin who had a very strong influence on Monet and the rest of the impressionist movement.
The church in Honfluer is unusual, it is entirely made of wood and has two naves. The belfry is a separate building because the existing church wasn’t strong enough to support the weight of the bells.
We’ve marked out this road just incase Stella gets any funny ideas. We are too long, too high and too wide but you never know what she might do.