Caudebec-en-Caux, France, Ancient fortification of the Tower of Harfleur
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Photo Credit: Pline | Ancient fortification of the Tower of Harfleur

Caudebec-en-Caux, France

River ships cruising on weeklong Paris and Normandy itineraries use this rather sleepy town as the midway turn-around point. Despite being mostly destroyed by a fire in 1940, Caudebec-en-Caux still offers a few pleasant sights for those who explore on foot or by bicycle. There is also access by bus to historic Honfleur (about a 50-minute ride to the west).

What We Love

The Riverfront Promenade: Go to the right as you exit your ship and stroll toward the massive, circa-1977 Pont de Brotonne Bridge. You’ll be able to peer into the backyards of several historic homes with lovely gardens. On the adjacent street, there's a huge carved stone model of a Latham 47 seaplane that was lost in the Arctic Circle in 1928 with Roald Amundsen aboard. The aviation company was based here.

Best Known For

Victor Hugo Museum: Located in Villequier, about three miles to the left along the riverfront promenade and bike path, is the home where Victor Hugo suffered the tragic loss of his daughter Leopoldine in 1843. He wrote his famous poem, “Tomorrow, At Dawn,” about walking to her gravesite.

Notre Dame of Caudebec-en-Caux: While most of the city's medieval buildings were destroyed by a 1940 fire, this 15th-century Gothic Flamboyant church survived. Of particular note are the 333 human figures carved on its west portal.

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Who It's Best For

Active Types: Whether you prefer to walk, run, or bike, the port's riverside pathways make it easy for anyone feeling cooped up on a river ship to enjoy a few hours of exercise.

Don't Say We Didn't Warn You

Historic Charm Is Limited: Beyond the church and a few other medieval buildings — such as the 12th-century Templars' House and the 18th-century Town Hall — there isn’t much else worth seeing.

Donna Heiderstadt

Donna Heiderstadt is a New York-based contributor to ShermansCruise who has also written for Coastal Living and Islands.

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Itineraries Including Caudebec-en-Caux, France
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