Honfleur's seafaring tradition dates back over a millennium; and after the successful Norman invasion of England in 1066, goods bound for the conquered isle were shipped across the Channel from here.

Samuel de Champlain set sail from Honfleur in 1608, on his way to found Quebec City. In 1681 Cavelier de La Salle set out from here to explore the New World, reaching the mouth of the Mississippi and naming the area Louisiana in honour of Louis XIV.

During the 17th and 18th centuries, Honfleur achieved considerable prosperity through maritime trade – including the slave trade – with the west coast of Africa, the West Indies and the Azores.

In August 1944 Honfleur was liberated by the British, Canadians and Belgians with little damage.