Presentation of the destination
Le Havre is a city in northwest France located on the shore of the English Channel at the mouth of the River Seine. It is the thirteenth largest city in France, with a population of nearly 250,000 people. It is home to the second largest port in France after the city of Marseille, which is fitting since its name means “the harbor” or “the port”. Le Havre and its port were founded in 1517 by King François I. Much of the city was destroyed during the 1944 Allied bombings of World War II, but architect Auguste Perret helped to rebuild the city soon after. Due to this, the center of Le Havre was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005. It is especially known for its architecture, specifically its buildings created with concrete. The city has a temperate oceanic climate, and it is rare to not have windy day due to its coastal location.
Points of interests / things to see
The Musée d'art moderne André Malraux, also known as MuMa Le Havre, is an art museum located on Le Havre’s coastline. The museum is in a beautiful building facing the sea with large windows that allow the light of the Normandy coast into the museum through special filters. It is named after André Malraux, the French Minister of Cultural Affairs at the time of the museum’s opening in 1961, and contains the second largest collection of impressionist paintings in France after the famous Musée d'Orsay in Paris. The extensive collection of impressionist paintings includes works by artists such as Monet, Renoir, Pissarro, Gauguin, and Manet. It also includes the world’s largest collections of works by Boudin. MuMa’s collections contain works from the last five centuries, and include a diverse array of art. The modern art collection contains pieces by Henri Matisse and Albert Marquet, while the old masters collection features works by Ribera and Giordano. Other areas of the museum contain sculptures, photography, graphic arts, and works from the Fauvism and Art Deco artistic movements. The museum also has a boutique and a restaurant.Location: 2 Boulevard Clemenceau, Le HavreHours: Mon, Wed through Fri 11:00 to 18:00, Weekends 11:00 to 19:00Website: http://www.muma-lehavre.fr/en
Graville Abbey, known as Abbaye de Graville in French, is the oldest monument in Le Havre. It is located on the bank of the Seine River on a site surrounded by beautiful gardens that provide a breathtaking view of the city. The abbey is dedicated to Saint Honorina, and includes a Romanesque church built in the Norman style. Many of the formerly used buildings date back to the 13th century and were built using Gothic architectural techniques. The building is named after Guillaume Malet de Graville, who fought alongside William the Conqueror in the Battle of Hastings and used his fortune to preserve this historical site. The abbey became a museum in the 1920s that contains many fascinating exhibits. Inside, visitors can see the impressive collection of religious art that spans from the 15th century to the present. There is also a fascinating display that provides a history of human dwellings, which features over two hundred model houses that were made in the 19th century. The houses were created by a local scholar in order to help illustrate the evolution of regional French architecture throughout the ages.Location: Rue de l’Abbaye, Le HavreHours: Wed through Mon 10:30 to 12:30 and 13:30 to 18:30Admission: Adults €5, Reduced €3, Free for people under 26
Le Havre’s natural history museum was founded in 1881 and is located inside an 18th century building that once housed the city’s courts. The museum was destroyed in 1944 during World War II bombings by the Allies and lost much of its collections and important documents, but has since rebuilt and contains a fascinating array of displays to visit and admire. The museum’s vast collections focus on archaeology, ethnology, paleontology, mineralogy, and petrology. It also contains an impressive collection of 8,000 drawings, manuscripts, and paintings done by local naturalist, artist, and explorer Charles Alexandre Lesueur in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. His works include landscapes, portraits, and depictions of fossils, animals, and French, American, and Australian minerals. The archaeology collection contains dozens of artifacts from Normandy, while the ethnography collection focuses on items from Africa and Oceania that primarily are from the 19th century. The mineralogy collection contains minerals of all shapes, sizes, and colors, while the paleontology collection contains fascinating fossils, including ancient fish, dinosaurs, and crocodiles. The petrology collection also informs visitors about the geological history of the region.Location: Place du Vieux Marché, Le HavreHours: Tuesday through Sunday 10:00 to 12:00 and 14:00 to 18:00 (closed Thursday mornings)Admission: FreeWebsite: http://www.museum-lehavre.fr/
Les Bains des Docks is an aquatic center in Le Havre located on the city’s harbor. The building itself is famous due to its architectural construction, which was designed by the firm Ateliers Jean Nouvel. Its design is intended to resemble the Roman thermal baths that people used as a gathering place long ago. Inside, there are several indoor and outdoor pools, including an Olympic sized lap pool. There is also a colorful play area designed especially for the use of children. This isn’t your typical aquatic center, as many of the pools contain differing levels of water that create waterfalls and other interesting spaces, while skylights lining the ceilings and large windows provide beautiful natural light. Besides its many pools, Les Bains des Docks also provides a variety of fitness equipment including elliptical machines, treadmills, and exercise bikes. After a long workout, you can also relax in the center’s saunas or Roman baths, as well as getting a massage. There are also a large number of classes provided, including swimming lessons and the fun-filled aquagym classes that allow you to exercise in the pool to music.Location: Quai de la Réunion, Le HavreHours: Open daily from 10:00 to 20:00 (open late until 22:00 on Fridays)Website: http://www.vert-marine.com/les-bains-des-docks-le-havre-76/
Sainte-Adresse is a small town that borders Le Havre and is located alongside the English Channel. The town has a long and important history. During World War I, it was used by the Belgian government as the administrative capital of Belgium while it was in exile. It was also the site of military fortifications built by the Nazis along the coast during World War II. These fortifications were known as the Atlantic Wall, and were used to prevent the Allied invasion of the coast. Sainte-Adresse is a lovely place to explore on a nice day. Architecture lovers will enjoy St. Denis Church built in the 19th century, and Phare de la Hève, a lighthouse that was constructed in 1951. A popular historical site is a 15th century manor house that was at one point visited by Catherine de’ Medici, the wife of King Henry II of France. Visitors can also see the Pain de Sucre, a mausoleum dedicated to French General Charles Lefebvre-Desnouettes by his widow, who was Napoleon’s cousin. Don’t miss the Chapelle Notre-Dame des Flots built in 1857 which is dedicated to the protection of sailors.Location: Sainte-Adresse is located just 3 km from the center of Le Havre on the Normandy coastWebsite: http://www.ville-sainte-adresse.fr/
Le Havre Cathedral, known as Cathédral Notre-Dame du Havre in French, is a Roman Catholic cathedral that dates back to the 16th century. It is the oldest building in Le Havre to survive destruction during World War II, and became a cathedral in 1974. It has a Baroque facade, 17th century altarpieces, and a beautiful bell tower that was constructed at some point in the early 1500s. The building also contained an impressive organ which was given to the church by Cardinal de Richelieu in 1637 when he was governor of Le Havre. Sadly, the organ was destroyed in World War II bombings, though its case was rebuilt in 1980.Location: Rue de Paris, Le HavreHours: Open daily
Le Volcan is a building complex designed by famous Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer. It is known for its distinctive volcanic shapes. It was built in 1982 and is considered the cultural center of Le Havre. The largest of these fascinating buildings contains a 1200 seat theatre and a cinema, while the smaller volcano holds two auditoriums. Even if you don’t want to see a film or take in a theatre performance, make sure to visit this architectural wonder, with is primarily underground spaces and small slit windows that provide interesting light effects inside the building.Location: Avenue Lucien Corbeaux, Le HavreWebsite: http://www.levolcan.com/
Saint Joseph Church is one of the most famous monuments in Le Havre. Its bell tower is one of the tallest church bell towers in all of France, reaching a height of 107 m. It was built in the 1950s during the reconstruction of the town following World War II, and is dedicated to the victims of the bombings. Its interior is a good example of Neo-Gothic architectural style, and features thousands of pieces of colored glass that add to the beauty of this building. It was designed by famous architect Auguste Perret.Location: Boulevard François 1er, Le HavreHours: Open daily from 10:00 to 18:00Admission: Free
Museé Hôtel Dubocage de Bléville, formerly Museé de l’Ancien Havre, is dedicated to the history of Le Havre. It is located inside a mansion that was previously owned by merchant, sailor, and explorer Michel Dubocage de Bléville who discovered an island off the coast of Mexico. The museum contains many fascinating items related to old Le Havre, including furniture, old maps, statues, and paintings, including several artifacts from the 19th century.Location: 1 Rue Jérôme Bellarmato, Le HavreHours: Open Mon, Tues, Fri, Sat and Sun 10:00 to 12:30 and 13:30 to 18:00; Wed 14:00 to 18:00Admission: Free (Guided tours available for €1-2)
Vacation rentals in Le havre (Normandy)
How to get there ?
By plane: The nearest international airports to Le Havre are Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) and Paris Orly Airport (ORY), the two largest airports in France. Both provide international and domestic flights. Le Havre is located approximately 215 km northwest of both Charles de Gaulle and Paris Orly, which is about 2.5 hours by car.Website: http://www.aeroportsdeparis.fr/ADP/en-gb/passagers/home/By train: Le Havre is located at one of the ends of the Paris-Le Havre railway line that passes through Rouen. There are regular train services from Le Havre to Paris that take approximately two hours, as well as a daily high speed train to Marseille. French trains are run by SNCF, which has a website that allows you to plan your trip and buy tickets online.Website: http://www.sncf.com/en/passengersBy boat: There are ferries that provide daily services between Le Havre and Portsmouth, a city on the southern coast of England.Getting aroundLe Havre has an excellent public transportation system. It has two tram lines that provide services to much of the city, as well as an urban bus system. It is also easy to get around the city on foot or by bike. Bicycles can be rented cheaply from the city’s tourist office.
Le havre city hall
Hotels in Le havre (Normandy)