Paris to Rouen to Honfleur in a day?

I'm staying in Paris for a month and making day trips primarily to visit northern French Gothic cathedrals. My daughter-in-law is joining me for a week and I'm considering a trip to include he Rouen cathedral and medieval town, then Honfleur -- all in one day, if possible. Any thoughts and advice? Is this too much to do? Has anyone taken the bus to/from Rouen-Honfleur?

Thanks very much...

Posted by Adam
Boston
2633 posts

A charming plan, if you spend the night in Honfleur. But I'd drive. Otherwise it is a very long day.

Posted by Carroll
Pittsburgh, PA, USA
1349 posts

I have not been to Rouen, but I would say if you could get to Honfleur before sunset and spend the night, go for it. It's really beautiful in the late afternoon, as the sun sets and in the early morning light. To do all that and get back to Paris in one day, would probably be too much for me.

Posted by Tim
Minneapolis, MN, USA
8646 posts

I don't think you can take a bus directly from Rouen to Honfleur. At least nothing turned up on my Google search.

The Normandy Guide on the Fodor's site recommends taking a train from Rouen to Le Havre and a bus from there to Honfleur. The train ride takes just under an hour. The bus ride takes about 30 minutes.

Posted by Cynthia
Sacramento
38 posts

Wow - you guys have a wealth of information -- thanks so much -- loved the video!

Based on your feedback, I've rented a car to pick up in Rouen. We'll be spending the evening and night in Honfleur, on to Bayeux the next day, dropping off the car in Caen, taking the train back to Paris -- with side trips here and there as time permits.

I'm posting another question about the train to Rouen (a different post) if you have time to look at it. It's hard being both old AND stupid.

Merci bien!

Posted by Mike
Tampa, FL, USA
417 posts

Tim made a good suggestion. I have visited both spots, and agree that in one day, it is just doable, but would be very rushed. I would spend the night in Honfleur and then head back in the morning to make the most of your time.

Rouen has a lot to see, and I really enjoyed the ambiance of the town. Honfleur is small, but worth the time. If you are looking simply for a day trip, I would cut Honfleur and spend my time in Rouen. Le Havre, though an interesting town with different architecture, while I am sure a great place to live, does not offer much for a visitor.

Vernon, on the same train route as Rouen, may make for an interesting stop if you are looking to add another city. There are some good Medieval sights there, including Place Barette, Collégiale Notre-Dame, and a mill on the River Seine. This website, though in French, can give you more information:

http://www.vernon27.fr/

Posted by Phil
Alencon, Normandy, France
66 posts

The centre of Rouen is magnificent with well preserved and interesting medieval architecture (the parliament has been recently restored and is stunning, the Grand Horloge is a corker, the ossuary or bone house for the plague victims is macabre!) apart from the amazing beauty of the cathedral, which drove Monet almost mad as it was near impossible to capture on canvas!

Please don't rush it - take the time to get the "audioguide" for 3€ from the tourist office next to the cathedral and do a proper walk of the town.

Here's a link to a little video we put together of Rouen: Day Trip to Rouen

Even in the autumn rain it's a winner!

Then go to Honfleur for the evening. See the sunset, enjoy the seafood and book into a hotel. It's pretty but be warned, VERY busy in summer!

For Buses in Normandy see my blog:

Buses in Normandy

I don't recommend the buses, but they're there if you must.

Posted by Carroll
Pittsburgh, PA, USA
1349 posts

I can't speak to the old part, but there's no way you're stupid if you've planned a month long trip to Paris! :)