Gateway to Normandy
The Harbour leading to Paris with prominent St Joseph's Church
Le Havre is multi-facetted, as important a commercial port as it is a popular yachting destination. Its 2 km of beach open onto the Seine estuary, once the backdrop for Impressionist artists who loved the effect of light and painted many famous paintings, including Monet’s ‘Sunrise at Le Havre’.
The town today has a particularly modern feel about it, having suffered major destruction during 1944. The authorities have rebuilt Le Havre with reference to the original plans, and it now boasts a dynamic university as well as a thriving commercial and cultural centre. The jewel in the crown is the Malraux Museum, an ultra-modern building on the seafront which houses an impressive collection of Impressionist works together with art from preceding centuries up to contemporary works. There is much else of interest to visit, including the Notre Dame cathedral, Natural History Museum and the Graville Priory, but especially fascinating is the Espace Maritime and the Vauban-designed dock area.
Access is easy, with regular ferry services from the UK and train service to Paris and onward destinations. Le Havre also has an airport with services to several French cities.
Le Havre is on the World Heritage list. In July 2005, UNESCO listed Le Havre’s city, rebuilt by Auguste Perret, as a World Heritage site. Perret was a major 20th century architect, a “concrete poet” and an innovator. Atelier Perret pulled off the feat of taking classic tradition and combining it with modernity to reinvent a unique 133ha centre whose architecture is clear, airy, harmonious and resolutely innovative.
Le Havre’s centre is the first 20th century European urban settlement to be on the World Heritage list.
St Joseph’s Church:
During the rebuilding of the city Auguste Perret designed the Church with colored glass which gives it a special peace and quiet interior.
Le Havre Hotel de Ville – Town Hall:
Town Hall (Hotel de Ville) with its vast esplanade of walkways, fountains and gardens. Climb the tower for a panoramic view of the city.
The largest Impressionist collections and exhibitions outside of Paris.
Maison de l’Armateur:
This unique historical house museum displays various objects from the nineteenth century