Monday, October 1, 2012

Honfleur; saints, ships and the sea

In this lovely old postcard you can see our apartment!  We sleep under the beams of a beautiful old building, a little to the left of St Etienne church.  If you would like to see the stunning view from our windows have a look at my first post here.

Eglise Saint-Etienne; Quai Saint-Etienne
Eglise Saint Etienne is now the enigmatic maritime museum.  A transformation made possible by kind donations from the good people of Honfleur, starting with a simple gift of fishing line by Marie-Thérèse Turgis!  

 Saint-Etienne ~ Musée de la marine, Honfleur today
Of course sailing is at the heart of everything in Honfleur and during Pentecost in May Honfleur celebrates with the sailor's festival; La fête des Marins!  Fishing boats and sailing ships festooned with flags come from near and far for the bénédiction, ensuring a year of prosperity and protection to all.  

Andre Hambourg's 'Fete de la Mer, Honfleur'
On Sunday, sailors, fishermen and children carry decorated model ships in a grand procession up to Chapelle de Notre-Dame de Grâce.  Here they attend Mass in the old chapel, illuminated by ancient coloured windows depicting saints, ships and the sea.  This is all followed of course by an exuberant party in the town. 
vintage postcard
Sailor's mass, Notre Dame de Grâce
If you visit the Chapelle you can still see up in the rafters exquisite examples of marine art and model boats - all gifts from long forgotten seafarers, who understood only too well the fragility of lives at sea, giving thanks for a safe return.
Window at Notre Dame de Grâce 

vintage postcard
Societe des Marins, web find

Favourite web find of the Fete!

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