Friday, 6 July 2012


A mere two hour train ride out of Gare St Lazare will get you to the Normandy coastline. There are trains that go to La Harve from Paris about every half hour, and the ride follows the Seine through gorgeous farmland and green wet countryside for most of the ride.


La Harve was nothing amazing to see. It's a huge, industrial port city on the mouth of the Seine. There's tons of harbors, container ships, ports, extendable bridges, and a smell of tire fires in the air. There's a giant bridge and a bus that leaves from the train station that will take you over the river to the pretty town of Honfleur.


Honfleur is mobbed with tourist. La Harve is a cruise ship port, so the town is filled with day-trippers from Paris and English tourist. It's not unpleasant though. The gorgeous old buildings that line the harbor gives it a quaint and cheerful feeling, even in a drizzle that turns into a downpour.

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There's plenty of cafes and shops to check out, and winding and narrow medieval streets to explore. Normandy is known for cider, crepes, oysters and fragrant cheeses such as camembert and livarot. There are worst places to eat and drink.

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Honfleur was a port that sent a great deal explorers and settlers off to the New World. There is a monument to Samuel Champlain right on the waterfront.

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This was also a place where Impressionist would come to paint. If the harbor looks familiar, it's probably because you've seen the Monet paintings of its likeness. Much effort has gone into preserving the town into something still recognizable more than 100 years back.

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I loved how you could buy a painting of taxi cabs in Times Square here. Let us remember our time in a seaside town in Calvados with a painting of New York! Totally mystifying to me, but it got me thinking that perhaps there is a tourist gallery shop in Times Square with paintings of quaint seaside fishing villages in France.


There was a big hill behind the town that you can hike up to get a really nice view of the harbor. We didn't let the downpouring rain keep us from there despite that we were basically slogging up a stream, but I didn't want to get my camera wetter than it already no picture. On a nice day I'm sure it's a great view, but we basically just saw dark heavy rainclouds. Ah well. Normandy isn't exactly known for sunshine and tropical breezes. It's a really cute place worth the visit though. There are a lot of small inns and B&Bs in the town if you cared to stay and it's location is fairly easy to get to from Paris without a car, and there are plenty of car rental places in La Harve if you wanted one.

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