August 13: Honfleur, France

Local merchants were just setting up in the market square this morning on our way to breakfast. Vendors sold cheese, herbal soaps, and farm fresh fruits and vegetables. People on bicycles hurried by with loaves of fresh bread in their wicker baskets. The air was cool and breezy. What a welcome contrast to the oppressive heat of Italy.

Sainte Catherine's Church is directly across the street from our hotel Built in the 1400s, the wooden roof looks like the hull of a ship and was most likely built by ship builders. Pillars inside on pedestals are made from tall trees. There's a wonderful bell tower too, but it's actually housed in a different building across the street.

Just down the street we visited Musee Eugene Boudin. The first floor held a fascinating exhibit of clothing from the 19th century. Dolls in elegant clothing were actually once used to display the latest fashions using beautiful French floral fabrics. Another floor held artwork by artists in Honfleur. Many showed the town as it looked in the 1800s. I like the way paintings give us a glimpse into the past of how some places that we are seeing today looked long ago. The museum also had a special exhibition by artist, Alfred Besnard. Many of his paintings depicted people with gentle faces. Old museum catalogs of his works were displayed nicely in glass cases.

Driving out of the village, we followed signs to Cote de Grace where there's a view looking down at Honfleur and the Normandy Bridge. The bridge opened in 1995 and is the longest cable stayed bridge in the world. It joins upper and lower Normandy. A charming church, Notre Dame de Grace is just down the road. Built in the 1600s by mariners, it is decorated with miniature wooden sailing, fishing, and passenger boats.

Tonight we attended the last 10 minutes of mass in the church and walked around town. It is such a pleasant place to visit.


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