St. Catherine’s Church (Eglise Sainte-Catherine)
The picturesque port town of Honfleur, on the Normandy coast, is over 1,000 years old, with the French and English alternating control of Honfleur throughout the Hundred Years’ War. Once finally free of the English during the 15th century, the inhabitants (many of whom were mariners) took it upon themselves to build a new church entirely from wood. A classified historical monument, elaborately carved to resemble the hull of a boat, and with exquisite stained-glass windows, it’s the largest wooden church in France.
Things to know before you go to St. Catherine’s Church (Eglise Sainte-Catherine)
The church’s bell tower houses the Eugène Boudin Museum, whose collection of drawings and paintings includes artwork by Claude Monet.
Parking lots in Honfleur fill up during the high season and can be expensive. Be prepared to park further out of town and walk the rest of the way, or book a tour that will take you here.
Don’t skip the details! The church organ is spectacular, and the eagle-eyed will spot intricate carvings on the wooden columns supporting the façade of the building.
How to get there
Honfleur is not the easiest to reach via public transport, but many tours and transfers will take you straight here from Paris (126 miles or 204 kilometers). Regular trains run between Paris and Le Havre, approximately a 30-minute drive from Honfleur. Once there, the best way to explore is on foot, with walking tours available.
When to get there
St. Catherine’s Church is open daily year-round, but the Eugène Boudin Museum in the bell tower is closed on Tuesdays; check the museum’s website for opening hours, which change seasonally. On Wednesday and Saturday mornings, there’s a flea market in the half-timber square outside the church.
Bless your four-legged friend at St. Catherine’s Church
Once a year, in October, visitors and parishioners are invited to bring their pets to St. Catherine’s Church to receive a blessing. Outside of this date, animals are forbidden in the church, but there are plenty of other dog-friendly activities in Honfleur. Many beaches near town accept dogs year-round, including Plage du Butin, the closest beach to Honfleur (however, dogs are not permitted in the swimming area).
- Trouville (Trouville-sur-Mer)
- Pays d'Auge
- Merville Battery (Batterie de Merville)
- Ranville War Cemetery
- Pegasus Memorial Museum (Pegasus Bridge)
- Abbaye aux Dames
- Caen Museum of Fine Arts (Musée des Beaux-Arts de Caen)
- Normandy Museum (Musée de Normandie)
- Caen Castle (Château de Caen)
- Caen Memorial Museum (Mémorial de Caen)
- Abbaye aux Hommes
- La Colline aux Oiseaux Park (Parc de La Colline aux Oiseaux)