The Virtual Traveler.
Writing historical romance often requires research and the internet is the most amazing tool.
In this blog I aim to share some of the places I’ve virtually been, fun facts I’ve learned, and anything interesting that popped up along the journey.
6 Sept 2020
Today I visited Honfleur at the mouth of the Seine River, Normandy, France.
My characters had been racing across France from Paris with an English lady they have rescued during the aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars. She had been under Palace guard and just as they reach the yacht waiting for them at the quay in Honfleur, the pursuer catches up with them.
A fairly intense scene takes place on the quay and I needed to know how that looked. Preferably 200 years ago!
Google Maps Street view is awesome.
I found the Lieutenant’s House which was obviously the gatehouse at a time when the city of Honfleur would have been walled and gated.
I could view the building from all angles and study it quite close up. It was obvious the door high up in the water-facing wall must once have gone somewhere. A closer look at the wall made it clear there had been more to the structure that had been removed, perhaps for the roadway along the quay.
In the course of this research I stumbled upon the value of old paintings. It had not really occurred to me before until Google threw up this painting of the Port of Honfleur by Joseph Turner.
And there’s the sea wall which no longer exists. Time has changed much and yet much is still recognizable.
Strolling the streets using Google Street View, I saw many buildings that would certainly have been there 200 years ago.
Now I would like to do more than travel virtually to this very historic place.
Wikipedia tells me that in 1506, a local man, Jean Denis departed for Newfoundland Island and the mouth of the Saint Lawrence. An expedition in 1608, organized by Samuel de Champlain, founded the city of Quebec in modern-day Canada.
Then there is the amazing Sainte-Catherine church, which has a bell tower separate from the principal building, and is the largest church made out of wood in France. It has two naves. Built by the local shipbuilders after the 100 years’ war when stone masons were in short supply, they built what they knew. The ceilings above the two naves resemble inverted boat hulls. The bell tower is a separate structure behind the church.
A wonderfully historic structure.
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Church photo by justmovingaround.com
Bell Tower photo by French Moments.
From my study in New Zealand,