(Re)discover Le Havre for a weekend. photo credit: Getty Images
Airy, bright and dynamic, the Cité Océane surprises with the atmosphere it exudes. With its landscaped waterfront, its museums, its art galleries, its festivals and its city center listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it’s very simple, in Le Havre, you never get bored!
A metropolis rising from its ashes
The largest city in Normandy, Le Havre is located 2 hours from
. It is a city of radical modernity. Indeed, the city was devastated during the Second World War. The German occupation and especially the Allied bombings of September 5 and 6, 1944 destroyed the city center, causing several thousand deaths, the destruction of 20,000 homes and throwing nearly 80,000 Le Havre into the streets. They therefore had to find the strength to reinvent themselves.
In 2005, the center rebuilt by Auguste Perret after the Second World War was included by UNESCO on the World Heritage List. Le Havre thus reveals itself to the eyes of the world in a new light. Le Havre, Phoenix city, still bears the motto given to it by its creator François Ier “
I nourish and extinguish
”: feed the good fire, put out the bad.
Le Havre seen from the sea
Le Havre is a port still in full activity. Take a ticket between
13 and 15 euros
and embark to visit Le Havre on the sea side. Guided by an experienced captain, discover the François I lock, which was the largest in the world until 1989. During this visit, you will see the diversity of port activities and the different types of vessels used: oil tankers, oil tankers, ore tankers, container ships, tugs, supply ships.
It will also be an opportunity to observe the diversity of port infrastructures, such as the Southampton wharf in the heart of Le Havre, where the “container ark” by contemporary artist Vincent Ganivet is installed. At the end of this visit, you will be able to observe the liners in stopover and admire Le Havre seen from the sea during a passage along the beach.
The Perret district, an example of 1950s town planning
In the aftermath of the Second World War, Le Havre, described as a “martyrdom city”, was 80% razed to the ground. Reconstruction then becomes a national priority. The French government asks a great specialist in reinforced concrete, Auguste Perret, to take charge of the site. He imagines a city respecting modern doctrines, while keeping in mind the historical composition of the city. It is inspired by the old plans of Le Havre. Each site, each street finds its pre-war place.
Auguste Perret followed his first idea: “What will distinguish Le Havre is an architecture that obeys a law of harmony.” The architectural uniqueness of Le Havre has been recognized worldwide since 2005. To complete your walk, don’t hesitate to push open the door of the “Perret show apartment”, rue de Paris. Fully furnished and decorated in the style of the 1950s, it served as a model for the construction of new housing and allows you to learn more about the reconstruction of the city.
The MuMa or André Malraux museum, one of the prides of the city
Located by the sea, the André Malraux Museum of Modern Art offers an architecture entirely dedicated to space and light. Inaugurated in 1845, the first museum in Le Havre lived through a turbulent history before becoming what it is. Destroyed during the war, it was reinvented in the 1950s with an incredible spirit of modernity. Cube of glass, steel and aluminum benefiting from sources of light on all sides, this figurehead of the city located at the entrance to the port is the first museum built after the war, and imposes itself as a manifesto of modern and minimal architecture. Renoir, Dufy, van Dongen, Manet or Marquet, the collection of paintings is impressive and many amateurs travel to admire it. The price of the visit is
for reduced rates.