With their fortunes, wealthy Honfleur families built their high-rise homes, packed tight next to each other, especially around the Vieux Bassin, the heart of the port, where a front-row home overlooking the vessels was a distinct privilege. Now, instead of receiving commercial ships, or fishing boats, which are kept out of the centre in larger docks, the Vieux Bassin attracts yachts. Shops fight for space behind the quays in this extraordinarily picturesque setting, while restaurants stretch their terraces across the cobbles.
The quarters on the different sides of the Vieux Bassin each have their distinctive character. The eastern Enclos, around the church of St-Etienne, is packed with interesting buildings. The western area slopes up to the splendid wooden church of Ste-Catherine, in a district where you will find the town’s main museums dedicated to the arts. Central Honfleur’s southern area is more discreet, but well worth exploring too for its architecture, including St-Léonard church and the restored fountains.