Le Havre is a beautiful port city in the mouth of the Seine River. It is located 125 miles west of Paris and takes only two hours by car or train to get there. It may no longer display many of the historical structures of its glory days as a bustling French port due to the devastating bombings in WW II, but the splendid new skyline of the city does not even show a hint of the destruction that once beset the area. It is now home to marvelous modern architecture whose excellent designs earned the city inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2005.
A walking tour of Le Havre will take you to an architectural buffet from towering concrete and glass buildings to charming old edifices from the 15th-18th centuries (the few that survived the 1944 bombings). There are also several museums in the area that will delight both history and art enthusiasts. And, if you want to see more works of art and perhaps buy one or two that catch your eye, there are plenty of art galleries to check out. But, if you simply want to relax and enjoy the view, there is a beach nearby where you can kick off your shoes and laze the day away. Or, head to the atmospheric area of Vieux Port where you can take a seat al fresco in a cafe and enjoy the view of the vibrant waterfront crowded with boats and yachts while you sip your brew of choice.
The Malraux Museum is one of the biggest attractions in Le Havre. It displays a large collection of work from some of the impressionist painters who once found inspiration in the lovely port city. Check out its remarkable exhibits and treat yourself to the breathtaking masterpieces of Boudin, Monet and Dufy, among others. Aside from outstanding art collections, the museum also hosts exhibitions of various forms of art such as cinema, theatre and dance. It really is the ultimate destination for those on the lookout for creative excursions.
There are also plenty of excellent art galleries worth checking out nearby, these are Galarie Hamon, Ecoute la Peinture Sylvette Helary Schrerer and Rendezvous de Sant Vincent, to name a few. If you appreciate the stage more than the canvas, then do not miss a visit to Le Volcan. It is considered one of the best theatres in France not only for its acoustic quality and top-of-the-line facilities but – equally importantly – for the brilliant performances on its stage.
History buffs, on the other hand, do not want to miss the Ancient Le Havre Museum located near the port at Rue Jerome Bellermato, where the city’s long and rich historical heritage are on display. Experience its exhibits and marvel at the large collection of artifacts as well as old photos and documents that allow a glimpse into the region’s distant past. There is also the Natural Museum at the Place du Vieux Marche for an interesting look into the complex process of evolution. The building housing the Natural Museum is also an attraction in itself because it is one of the few old buildings that remain standing to this day.
No cultural excursion in Le Havre is complete without checking out its architectural trophies. First up is the modern Saint Joseph Church towering high above the city in its steel, concrete and stained glass glory. It stands 350 feet high, making its tower the perfect spot to soak up the stunning panoramic views of Le Havre.
Of course, the Hotel de Ville is also a must visit. It is located right smack at the center of Le Havre, in one of the biggest public squares in the country. Its tower also offers breathtaking views of the area and its charming flower gardens and fountains make it a wonderful place to hang-out, enjoy the view and watch the diversity of people strolling by.