Le Havre celebrates its 500th anniversary in 2017. From May, many events - which we will talk about again - are planned to celebrate this anniversary. The opportunity to (re) discover this dynamic Norman port, whose town center, rebuilt by Auguste Perret after the Second World War, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. City of art and history, Le Havre will delight lovers of culture and architecture. And, to accompany your visit, the Routard publishes a color guide entirely devoted to Le Havre, available in bookstores.
Le Havre, to (re) discover for its 500th anniversary!
Le Havre ? An extraordinary city, 85% destroyed by the bombings of September 1944 and rebuilt in the post-war period under the leadership of a visionary architect: Auguste Perret. The city then develops on an orthogonal grid using rectilinear perspectives, while the stone is replaced by the concrete which gains its letters of nobility. In 20 years, it is a city unique in the world that is reborn, ranked in 2005 at UNESCO World Heritage Site. In 2017, Le Havre celebrates the 500th anniversary of its founding, with many events. It's time to go!
Perret is not the only architect to have distinguished himself in Le Havre, which is a spectacular laboratory of contemporary architecture. The brilliant brazilian Oscar Niemeyer (The Volcano) and Jean Nouvel (Bains des Docks) have worked to beautify Le Havre, just like Dottelonde, Viguier, Pérusat, Chemetoff… All have taken advantage of the geographical location of Le Havre: a port located on the sea and at the estuary of the Seine.
Because Le Havre owes everything to sea : in 1517, François Ier chose this strategic location to establish a port and a city. Today, Le Havre is the 2nd oil port in France and the country's 1st in terms of foreign trade. Cruise ships stop over there, as do the skippers of the Transat Jacques Vabre. Everywhere, in this city open to the sea and the sky, we breathe the sea air deeply. Quality of life is not an empty word around here ...
Water, sky, light… This is what attracted painters to Le Havre, and in particular Claude Monet who painted his famous painting Impression, soleil levant in 1872, the masterpiece that gave birth to the iimpressionism. Today is at Malraux museum du Havre that is the most beautiful impressionist collection in France after that of the Musée d'Orsay. A must for art lovers.
A Backpacker to visit Le Havre
New: the Routard publishes its first guide to Le Havre
In 142 pages, this colorful guide gives you the keys to discovering this unique city: sites not to be missed, good addresses selected by Routard investigators, tips and cool activities, practical information, favorites, anecdotes, maps with addresses positioned ...
Also, at the beginning of the guide, the overview of the program for the 500th anniversary of Le Havre and, at the end of the book, ideas for getaways in the surroundings, to extend your stay in Normandy.
The essentials for exploring Le Havre in this anniversary year!
Five favorites in Le Havre
There are plenty of reasons to come to Le Havre. Among the city's unmissable attractions, here are 5 of our favorites from Le Havre:
- Saint-Joseph church : colossal and fascinating masterpiece by architect Auguste Perret, including an extraordinary kaleidoscope formed by the 12 colored glasses of the bell tower. An exceptional color palette designed by artist Marguerite Huré.
- Les Bains des Docks : a brilliant balneo-aquatic complex imagined by Jean Nouvel. Roman thermal baths in a modern version installed on the site of the old coffee sheds. Go take a dip!
- The André-Malraux Museum of Modern Art : this superb light and airy space contains the 2nd impressionist collection in France after the Musée d'Orsay!
- The volcano : incredible performance hall designed by the great Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer. It houses the national stage of Le Havre, take advantage of your visit to attend a show.
- The beach promenade : 2 km of sandy and pebble beach to Sainte-Adresse. Pretty waterfront designed by the landscape designer Alexandre Chemetoff, lined with attractive gardens. To continue your marine trip, embark on the cruiser Le Havre II for a visit to port !
Consult our Normandy online guide
All the tips and addresses in Le Havre Routard in bookstores. Price: € 12,50
Le Havre tourist office
Official site of the 500th anniversary of Le Havre