As the train slowed while approaching Rouen, we gathered up our luggage and joined the other passengers waiting to disembark. Once inside the station we soon located the car rental booths. After a short session of paperwork we loaded our luggage in the car then went back out through Gare de Rouen to find some lunch.
Our hunger satisfied, we returned to the car for our drive to Honfleur. Now, one of the fun features of GPS is that it really doesn’t find satellite signals too well when you are in an underground parkade. So of course when you exit the garage you have no directions as to which way to turn. And on a maze of narrow little streets there is no immediate place to pull over until the GPS has a signal and can initiate instructions. So we spent a few minutes driving around blindly until we found a parking stall and could wait for the GPS to be ready. Soon, we had a signal and were on our way. After a few initial wrong turns we were on the highway heading to Honfleur. Once in town we met up with our landlord and we’re shown the apartment that we had rented for the week.
After settling in I went out on an exploratory walk to find an ATM, grocery store and to do an initial recognizance of the famed Vieux Basin which turned out to be about a 5 minute walk from the apartment. The Basin was as beautiful as I imagine it would be and I couldn’t wait to photograph it when the lighting was better. Between grocery shopping and dinner I didn’t actually get out shooting until the next afternoon. It had rained overnight and most of the day but it looked like the sky was clearing a bit and there might be a break in the weather so off i went in search of some streetscapes. They aren’t hard to find in Honfleur. Just about any street your walk down offers opportunities. As sunset approached I headed down to the Vieux Basin. I knew from research before the trip that the shot I wanted was a sunrise shot but I wanted to try some long exposures in Blue Hour hoping to catch some nice lights from the cafes and street lamps.
I had lots of fun “playing” with different shots. About the time I was thinking about packing up, the rain started again. By the time I was partially packed up it was coming down fairly hard. I raced for cover under the awning of a nearby cafe, collapsing my tripod as I ran. After a few minutes the downpour subsided and I set off for the apartment. As I walked down one street I saw a shot I couldn’t resist. Knowing that it was likely going to start raining again I set up my tripod under the overhang of a roof and worked my shot. I was only back in the apartment for a couple of minutes when it started raining in buckets. I had taken a chance but I got a shot that I was happy with.
The next morning I was up early for a sunrise shoot at Vieux Basin then walked around the area catching the early morning light. After breakfast it was off to a three museums and further exploration of Honfleur.
The first museum was the Musée de Marine. It was located in an old church. Even though all the signs were in French I understood what most of the exhibit were having seen many similar items in the many maritime museums I have visited over the years.
The second museum was Masons Satie. Erik Satie was born in Honfleur and was somewhat of an eccentric composer. The museum is a very interesting blend of the whimsical and Satie’s music.
The third museum was the Eugene Boudin Museum. The museum houses paintings by Boudin and other impressionists as well as 20th century artists who lived and/or worked in Honfleur and area.
One of the reasons for visiting Normandy was to visit some of the D-Day Beaches. My next post will cover those visits.