The final full day of this cruise brought us to the harbor of Le Havre, France. Le Havre, which lies along the English Channel on France’s western coast, is the common port of entry for big ships.
While Le Havre is an ancient and textured city, dating back to the 16th century, it was badly bombed during World War II.
We decided to forgo the long bus trip into Paris (with a two hour ride both ways, we knew very little of Paris would be seen; beside, we’ve done Paris–see the “Europe In The Fall” blog we posted a few years ago). So, instead, we picked up a trip to Fécamp, France about 40 minutes away from port. The Palais Benedictine, an architectural masterpiece of gothic and Renaissance inspirations is the location of the Benedictine Distillery. The home of the celebrated herbal liqueur is a magnificent gothic-style palace in this coastal town. Fécamp is just 20 minutes’ drive from Étretat, where Impressionist painters like Claude Monet painted canvases of the coastal scenery.
Our tour included a detailed view of the Palais’ rooms, a visit to the distillery (the only location making all three styles of Benedictine) and a master bartender who treated us to a cocktail making lesson.