Le Havre, although a destination on its own, is also an ideal base for day trip jaunts to charming French towns and stunning natural attractions. Cruise passengers who are visiting the port city for a day-long shore excursion will find a wide range of options to keep them happily occupied.
The port city is strategically located, which allows day trippers to get to any part of Normandy within two hours or less. So, go ahead and visit lovely small villages to soak up the atmospheric French countryside, hit the beaches of popular resort towns to work on your tan, or drive along the rugged landscape to check out the breathtaking natural scenery of the coastline.
Located only 2 miles outside of Le Havre, just a few minutes drive, is the scenic seaside town of Sainte-Adresse. Its laid back atmosphere and quaint setting have enchanted Normandy’s famous personalities such as Monet, Boudin and Karr, among others. In fact, Monet has a series of beautiful paintings – the most famous of which is the Garden – depicting the remarkable beauty and colors of the area. Moreover, Sainte-Adresse’s rich heritage can be seen from the many historical landmarks and monuments scattered around town. Some of the attractions worth checking out in the area are the lovely 19th century architecture of St. Denis Church and the chapel of Notre Dame des Flots, the 15th century manor, and the romantic lighthouse of de la Heve.
Other nearby destinations from Le Havre that are less than 10 miles away include the picturesque towns of Honfleur, Villerville, Trouville and Deauville. Honfleur needs no introduction simply because it is a popular tourist destination in Normandy. It is easily reachable from Le Havre via the impressive modern bridge of Pont de Normandie.
The village of Villerville is the most idyllic among the neighboring towns of Le Havre because of its relative tranquility and proximity to the charming countryside. It also features a long beach from where you can see the pretty outline of Le Havre’s vista at the distance. It is also home to many delightful bookshops flanking its main street, which will make a bibliophile’s heart skip a beat. If you are in the mood for gentle strolls, then the woodlands of Les Graves will serve you well while you are there.
Nearby is the town of Trouville with its characteristic 19th century architecture. A walking tour of the area is simply delightful. Climb the 100 steps of Escalier du Serpent and enjoy a glorious view of the town and the beach below. Walk along the boardwalk and enjoy the beautiful seascape on one side and the fabulous villas on the other. If you are a fan of Charles Mozin, then do not miss a visit to the Montebello Villa which now houses a museum dedicated to the painter’s brilliant works. Of course, for those who love the hustle and bustle of fish markets, Trouville boasts of one of the best of these kind of markets in all of France.
Adjacent to Trouville is the picture-perfect town of Deauville. This is the place to go if you are on the look out for an exciting destination with a bustling beach scene, a golf course, a casino and a plethora of elegant shops. It even has a race track for those who love the speed and the sound and excitement of racing cars. This is definitely the prime destination for those who love to get pampered and live a lavish lifestyle.