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Le Havre

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Le Havre

46.95 km (18.13 sq mi)

Le Havre httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediacommonsthu

7°C, Wind S at 10 km/h, 94% Humidity

Colleges and Universities
University of Le Havre, École de management de Normandie

Points of interest
Museum of modern art André Ma, Le Havre Cathedral, Côte d'Albâtre, St Joseph's Church - Le Havre, Jardins suspendus

Places to see in le havre france

Le Havre ( /ləˈhɑːvrə/; [lə ʔɑvʁ]) is an urban French commune and city in the Seine-Maritime department in the Normandy region of northwestern France. It is situated on the right bank of the estuary of the river Seine on the Channel southwest of the Pays de Caux.


Map of Le Havre, France

Modern Le Havre remains deeply influenced by its employment and maritime traditions. Its port is the second largest in France, after that of Marseille, for total traffic, and the largest French container port. The name Le Havre means "the harbour" or "the port". Its inhabitants are known as Havrais or Havraises.

Administratively the commune is located in the Normandy region and, with Dieppe, is one of the two sub-prefectures of the Seine-Maritime department. Le Havre is the capital of the canton and since 1974 has been the see of the diocese of Le Havre.

Le Havre is the most populous commune of Upper Normandy, although the total population of the greater Le Havre conurbation is smaller than that of Rouen. It is also the second largest subprefecture in France (after Reims).

The city and port were founded by the King Francis I of France in 1517. Economic development in the Early modern period was hampered by religious wars, conflicts with the English, epidemics, and storms. It was from the end of the 18th century that Le Havre started growing and the port took off first with the slave trade then other international trade. After the 1944 bombings the firm of Auguste Perret began to rebuild the city in concrete. The oil, chemical, and automotive industries were dynamic during the Trente Glorieuses (postwar boom) but the 1970s marked the end of the golden age of ocean liners and the beginning of the economic crisis: the population declined, unemployment increased and remains at a high level today. Changes in years 1990–2000 were numerous. The right won the municipal elections and committed the city to the path of reconversion, seeking to develop the service sector and new industries (Aeronautics, Wind turbines). The Port 2000 project increased the container capacity to compete with ports of northern Europe, transformed the southern districts of the city, and ocean liners returned. In 2005 UNESCO inscribed the central city of Le Havre as a World Heritage Site. The André Malraux Modern Art Museum is the second of France for the number of impressionist paintings.

The city has been awarded two flowers by the National Council of Towns and Villages in Bloom in the Competition of cities and villages in Bloom.


Le Havre is a major French city located some 50 kilometres (31 miles) west of Rouen on the shore of the English Channel and at the mouth of the Seine. Numerous roads link to Le Havre with the main access roads being the A29 autoroute from Amiens and the A13 autoroute from Paris linking to the A131 autoroute.

Administratively, Le Havre is a commune in the Haute-Normandie region in the west of the department of Seine-Maritime. The urban area of Le Havre corresponds roughly to the territory of the Agglomeration community of Le Havre (CODAH) which includes 17 communes and 250,000 people. It occupies the south-western tip of the natural region of Pays de Caux where it is the largest city. Le Havre is sandwiched between the coast of the Channel from south-west to north-west and the estuary of the Seine to the south.

Geology and terrain

Le Havre belongs to the MLG community Paris Basin which was formed in the Mesozoic period. The Paris Basin consists of sedimentary rocks. The commune of Le Havre consists of two areas separated by a natural cliff edge: one part in the lower part of the town to the south including the harbour, the city centre and the suburbs. It was built on former marshland and mudflats that were drained in the 16th century. The soil consists of several metres of alluvium or silt deposited by the Seine. The city centre was rebuilt after the Second World War using a metre of flattened rubble as a foundation.

The upper town to the north, is part of the cauchois plateau: the neighbourhood of Dollemard is its highest point (between 90 to 115 metres (295 to 377 feet) above sea level). The plateau is covered with a layer of flinty clay and a fertile silt. The bedrock consists of a large thickness of chalk measuring up to 200 m (656 ft) deep. Because of the slope the coast is affected by the risk of landslides.


Due to its location on the coast of the Channel, the climate of Le Havre is temperate oceanic. Days without wind are rare. There are maritime influences throughout the year. According to the records of the meteorological station of the Cap de la Heve (from 1961 to 1990), the temperature drops below 0 °C (32 °F) on 24.9 days per year and it rises above 25 °C (77 °F) on 11.3 days per year. The average annual sunshine duration is 1,785.8 hours per year.

Precipitation is distributed throughout the year, with a maximum in autumn and winter. The months of June and July are marked by some thunderstorms on average 2 days per month. One of the characteristics of the region is the high variability of the temperature, even during the day. The prevailing winds are from the southwest sector for strong winds and north-north-east for breezes, snowstorms occur in winter, especially in January and February.

The absolute speed record for wind at Le Havre – Cap de la Heve was recorded on 16 October 1987 at 180 kilometres per hour (112 miles per hour).

The main natural hazards are floods, storms, and storm surges. The lower town is subject to a rising water table. The lack of watercourses within the commune prevents flooding from overflows. Le Havre's beach may rarely experience flooding known as "flooding from storms". These are caused by the combination of strong winds, high waves, and a large tidal range.

Weather Data for Le Havre


A study by Aphekom comparing ten large French cities showed that Le Havre is the least polluted urban commune of France. Le Havre is also the third best city in France with more than 100,000 inhabitants for air quality. A Carbon accounting showed in 2009 that the municipality ejected some 32,500 tonnes of CO₂ per year. In 2011 the average annual emissions of sulfur dioxide by industry was between three micrograms per cubic metre in the centre of Le Havre to twelve micrograms per cubic metre in the district of Caucriauville.

The municipality has set a target to reduce emissions of CO2 by 3% per year. To achieve this solar panels have been installed on several municipal buildings (city hall, hanging gardens). Since 2008, Le Havre has been part of the network of Energy Cities and, in this context, it applies the steps of Agenda 21 and an Environmental Approach to Urban Planning. The city has received many awards of eco-labels several times (Energy of the Future label in 2009–2011, sustainable Earth label in 2009). Since 1998, Le Havre's beach has received the Blue Flag yearly thanks to its range of facilities, which extend over 30,000 Sq. M.

Le Havre has kept extensive green areas (750 hectares or 41 Sq. M per inhabitant): the two largest areas are the Montgeon Forest and Rouelles Park which are both located in the upper town. The gardens of the Priory of Graville and the hanging gardens offer views of the lower city. In the city centre, Saint-Roch Square and the City Hall Gardens provide the people with urban recreation areas. Various ecosystems are represented in the Beach Gardens and the Hauser Park (caves). Finally, the Plateau of Dollemard was classified as a "Sensitive Natural Area" of the department in 2001 to protect its landscape and ecosystems on the cliff. The streets are lined with 13,000 trees of 150 different varieties.


For a long time Le Havre has exploited the strengths of its coastal location but also suffered from its relative isolation. This is why the accessibility of the city has been improved with the harbour highway A131 (E05) which links Le Havre to the A13 autoroute over Tancarville Bridge. The city is one hour from Rouen and one and a half-hour from Île-de-France. More recently the A29 autoroute (E44) has connected Le Havre to the north of France and passes over the Normandy Bridge which makes Amiens (in the north-east) two hours away and Caen (in the south-west) one hour.

The TER network was modernized with the creation of the LER line in 2001 and direct services to Fécamp in 2005. Thirteen Corail trains of the Paris-Le Havre line link stations at Bréauté-Beuzeville, Yvetot, and Rouen, with Paris Saint-Lazare station. In addition there is a TGV daily service to Le Havre: it has connected the city to Marseille since December 2004 serving Rouen, Mantes-la-Jolie, Versailles, Massy, Lyon, Avignon, Aix-en-Provence, and Saint Charles station in Marseilles.

No direct rail link connects Le Havre and Caen yet many projects – known as the "Southwest Line" – to link Le Havre to the left bank of the Seine downstream from Rouen, near the estuary of the river, were studied in the second half of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century but none have been realized. By public transport it is necessary to go to Rouen by train or bus (using No. 20 Green Bus). There is a Gray Coach to Etretat and Fécamp and there is VTNI for destinations in the Seine valley and Rouen who provide inter-urban services on behalf of the Department of Seine-Maritime. Finally, the company AirPlus provides a shuttle service to the train stations and airports of Paris.

For air transport, there is Le Havre Octeville Airport which is located 5 km (3 mi) north of Le Havre at the town of Octeville-sur-Mer and managed by CODAH.

The main destination is the Transport hub of Lyon. Many holiday destinations are offered each year (Tunisia, Balearic Islands, Portugal, Greece, Bulgaria, etc.) through local travel agencies that charter aircraft. There is also the Flying club Jean Maridor at the airport.

The Channel maritime links with Portsmouth in southern England with P&O Ferries ended on 30 September 2005 to be taken over by LD Lines who have changed the configuration. Two services to Portsmouth are provided daily from the Terminal de la Citadelle. The link to Ireland was moved to the port of Cherbourg.

Crossing times to Portsmouth vary from five hours and thirty minutes to eight hours. Popular alternative routes going to areas close to Le Havre include Newhaven to Dieppe, and Poole to Cherbourg.

Urban transport

The city and the metropolitan area has a dense transport network. This solves the problem of a break between the lower town and the upper town and the two parts of the city are connected by long boulevards, winding roads, many stairs, a funicular, and finally the Jenner tunnel.

The CODAH transport network is called Lia and is operated by the Ocean Port Transport company (CTPO), a subsidiary of Veolia Transport. The overhaul of the bus network in 2008 helped to ensure a better service for all the towns in the metropolitan area. The CTPO operates a bus network consisting of 19 regular urban routes and six evening routes called the "Midnight Bus". The Le Havre urban area is served by 165 vehicles and 41 regular bus routes with an average of 100,000 passengers per day. From January 2011 there has been a regular shuttle service specific to the Industrial Zone and Port of Le Havre, thus adding to the cross-estuary service of VTNI. Since 1890 the funicular has provided a link between the upper town and the lower town in four minutes with a cable car.

Le Havre had a tramway system from 1894 until it closed in 1957. More recently a new tramway system, with 23 stations and 13 km (8 mi) of route, was built, and opened on 12 December 2012. The first part of the line connects the beach to the station climbing to the upper town through a new tunnel near the Jenner tunnel then it splits into two: one link going to Mont-Gaillard, the other to Caucriauville.

Finally, since 2001 Le Havre agglomeration has operated the LER, a TER line connecting the Le Havre station to Rolleville passing through five other SNCF railway stations of the urban area.

From 2005, development work for Segregated cycle facilities have increased including a connection to the Greenway which promises to be an important network of quality. Between 2007 and 2011, the total length of cycle paths has doubled to 46 km (29 mi) in total length. It is possible to rent bicycles through agencies of the Océane bus or from the town hall (Vel-H) which has them on hand. Finally, 140 taxis work in Le Havre and serve 25 stations.

City rebuilt after 1945

Largely destroyed during the Second World War, the city was rebuilt according to the plans of the architect Auguste Perret between 1945 and 1964. Only the town hall and the Church of Saint Joseph (107m high) were personally designed by Auguste Perret. In commending the reconstruction work UNESCO listed the city of Le Havre on 15 July 2005 as a World Heritage Site. This area of 133 hectares is one of the few inscribed contemporary sites in Europe. The architecture of the area is characterized by the use of precast concrete using a system of a modular frame of 6.24 metres and straight lines.

Another notable architectural work of the central city is that of the House of Culture built in 1982 by the Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer and nicknamed "the Volcano" because of the shape of the building. In 2012, this place was being refurbished both inside and outside with fairly significant changes approved by the architect including greater openness to the outside of the plaza.

The Notre Dame and Perrey neighbourhoods are mainly residential. Les Halles is one of the commercial hubs of the city. The Saint Francis neighborhood was also rebuilt after 1945 but in a radically different architectural style: the buildings are brick and have pitched slate roofs. This is the restaurant district and the fish market.

Neighbourhoods in the old centre of town

To the east and north of the rebuilt central city are a stretch of old neighbourhoods (Danton, Saint-Vincent, Graville, Massillon, etc.) which were spared the bombings of World War II. The buildings, usually in brick, dated to the 19th and the first half of the 20th centuries. The shops are concentrated along several major roads in the Rond-Point neighbourhood. During the 1990s and 2000s, these neighborhoods have seen major redevelopments, particularly in the context of an OPAH: improvement of habitat by rehabilitation or reconstruction, creation of public facilities, and revitalization of business.

At the end of the 20th century and beginning of the 21st century, the area around the railway station has undergone a major transformation. As the station is the gateway to the city with the main avenues intersecting here. New buildings have sprung up (University of Le Havre, the conservatory, headquarters of the SPB (Provident Society Bank), and of CMA CGM, Novotel, Matmut, new CCI) some of which were designed by renowned architects. The bus station, certified NF since 2005, has been refurbished. North of the station, another construction project in place of the dilapidated island of Turgot-Magellan will be opened in 2013, including 12,500 m2 (135,000 sq ft) of office space and an eight-storey hotel, complete with shops on the ground-floor.

The southern districts

The southern districts of Le Havre are mainly used for industrial and port activities. There are buildings in brick from the 19th century, large developments (Chicago, Les Neiges), worker estates, SMEs, warehouses, dock and port facilities, and transport infrastructure.

The southern districts have for some years experienced profound change due to European funding. It is revitalizing areas neglected by industrial and port activities by developing tertiary activities. Thus, the docks have been completely transformed into sports and entertainment complexes (Dock Océane), a mall (Docks Vauban), and an exhibition hall (Docks Café). Les Bains Des Docks was designed by the architect Jean Nouvel. At the end of 2012 students from Sciences-Po Europe Asia and from INSA integrated new buildings next to the ISEL (Higher Institute of logistics studies) and the future ENSM (Ecole Nationale Supérieure Maritime). The new medical axis around the new Clinic des Ormeaux was built in the neighbourhoods where many homes are planned with the aim of promoting social mix. The City of the Sea and of Sustainable Development (Odyssey 21) will be organized around a metal tower one hundred metres high designed by Jean Nouvel: the project was suspended in 2007 but the work should finally begin in 2013. The municipality has to attract some 300,000 visitors per year.

The Upper Town

The upper town is composed of three parts: the "coast", the suburban districts of the plateau, and large peripheral housing estates.

The neighbourhoods on the "coast" (the Dead Cliff) are residential – more prosperous in the western part (Les Ormeaux, Rue Felix Faure) and more modest to the east (St. Cecilia, Aplemont). The Jenner tunnel passes under the "coast" and connects the upper town to the lower town. It is also on the coast that there are two fortifications of the city, Forts Sainte-Adresse and Tourneville, and the main cemetery (Sainte-Marie cenetery). With the demise of the military functions of the city, the forts are gradually being converted: Fort Sainte-Adresse houses the Hanging Gardens and Fort Tourneville hosted the Tetris project in 2013 – an axis of contemporary music with concert halls and rehearsal studios.

To the north of the "coast" suburban districts such as Rouelles, Sainte-Cecile, la Mare au Clerc, Sanvic, Bleville, and Dollemard were developed during the first half of the 19th century. In their extension North-west between Bleville and Octeville airport a new area is being developed: "Les Hauts de Bleville". This eco-district made up of housing units to HQE standards, a Joint Development Area (ZAC), and a school should have a total of 1,000 housing units.

The peripheral suburbs of the commune grew in the postwar period. These are large housing estates in Caucriauville, Bois de Bleville, Mont-Gaillard, and Mare-rouge where a disadvantaged population is concentrated. In October 2004 the National Agency for Urban Renewal (ANRU) signed with the municipality of Havre the first agreement to finance the rehabilitation of these areas. This finance agreement provides more than 340 million euros for the housing estates in the northern districts, where about 41,000 people reside. This development extends the budget for the Grand Projet de Ville (GPV). It allows the demolition and rebuilding of more than 1,700 homes.


The name of the town was attested in 1489, even before it was founded by François I in the form le Hable de Grace then Ville de Grace in 1516, two years before its official founding. The learned and transient name of Franciscopolis in tribute to the same king, is encountered in some documents then that of Havre Marat, referring to Jean-Paul Marat during the French Revolution but was not imposed. However it explains why the complementary determinant -de-Grace was not restored. This qualifier undoubtedly referred to the Chapel of Notre Dame located at the site of the cathedral of the same name. It should be noted that the chapel faced the Chapel Notre Dame de Grace of Honfleur across the estuary. The common noun havre meaning "port" was out of use at the end of the 18th or beginning of the 19th centuries but is still preserved in the phrase havre de paix meaning "safe haven". It is generally considered a loan from Middle Dutch from the 12th century. A Germanic origin can explain the "aspiration" of the initial h.

New research however focuses on the fact that the term was attested very early (12th century) and in Norman texts in the forms Hable, hafne, havene, havne, and haule makes a Dutch origin unlikely. By contrast, a Scandinavian etymology is relevant given the old Scandinavian höfn (genitive hafnar) or hafn meaning "natural harbour" or "haven" and the phonetic evolution of the term étrave which is assuredly of Scandinavian origin is also attested in similar forms such as estable and probably dates back to the ancient Scandinavian stafn.


Le Havre was founded on 8 October 1517 as a new port by royal command of François I partly to replace the historic harbours of Harfleur and Honfleur which had become increasingly impractical due to silting-up. The city was originally named Franciscopolis after the king then subsequently became Le Havre-de-Grâce ("Harbour of Grace") after an existing chapel of Notre-Dame-de-Grâce ("our Lady of Grace").

Before François I

Human presence on the territory of Le Havre dates back to Prehistory around 400,000 BC.

Many remains from the Neolithic period have been excavated in the lower city and the Montgeon Forest: it is at this time that the population increased and settled down in the first hamlets. During the Iron Age Celtic people from Caletes settled in the region. From ancient times river traffic on the Seine supported Gallo-Roman cities of the estuary. A Roman road linked Lillebonne (Juliobona) at the mouth of the Seine through the current territory of the commune of Le Havre.

The first mention of Graville Abbey was in the 9th century, about Sanvic on the plateau. The village of Leure and its commercial port appear in the 11th century. It served as a shelter for ships awaiting the tide to enter the port of Harfleur upstream. It was at this time that Guillaume Mallet, companion of William the Conqueror built himself a castle at Graville and a Motte-and-bailey castle in Aplemont. Several hamlets of fishermen and farmers, the first parishes emerged in the High Middle Ages. During the Hundred Years War the fortified ports Leurre and Harfleur were destroyed. At the beginning of the 16th century the growth of trade, the silting-up of the port of Harfleur, and the fear of an English landing pushed the king François I to found the port of Le Havre and the town.

The foundation of Le Havre

On 8 October 1517, François I signed the founding charter of the port the plans of which are first assigned to Vice Admiral Guyon le Roy. The "big tower" defended the entrance. Despite difficulties associated with marshland and storms, the port of Le Havre welcomed its first ship in October 1518. The king himself travelled there in 1520 and granted in perpetuity the privileges of Le Havre and gave them his own arms consisting of a salamander. The military function was also encouraged: Le Havre was an assembly point for the French fleet during the wars. Ships also went fishing for cod in Newfoundland.

In 1525, a storm caused the death a hundred people, destroyed 28 fishing boats and the Chapel of Notre Dame. In 1536 the chapel was rebuilt in wood with stone pillars under the direction of Guillaume de Marceilles. A gothic tower with a large octagonal spire was added in 1540. The same year Francis I entrusted the planning and fortification project with Italian architect Girolamo Bellarmato. He had full power and organized the neighbourhood of Saint-François according to specific standards (grid plan, limiting the height of the houses, etc.). The first school and the granary were erected. The 1550s saw the creation of several municipal institutions: the town hall, the Amirauté (court of Justice), the hospital, the seat of the Viscounty and of the bailiwick.

The New World attracted adventurers and some left from Le Havre such as Villegagnon who founded a colony in Brazil (Fort Coligny) in 1555. At the end of the 16th century trade expanded quickly and Le Havre saw the arrival of American products like leather, sugar, and tobacco. One of the main players in the traffic was an explorer and cartographer Guillaume Le Testu (1509–1573): a dock in Le Havre still bears his name.

On 20 April 1564 Le Havre became the port of departure for the French expedition of René Goulaine de Laudonnière to the New World where he created the first French colony at Fort Caroline near present-day Jacksonville, Florida. Famed artist Jacques le Moyne de Morgues joined Laudonnière on this colonizing effort and created the first known artistic depictions by a European of Native Americans in the New World, specifically the Timucua tribes in the modern-day areas of northeast Florida and southeast Georgia.

The wars of religion

The Protestant Reformation experienced relative success in Normandy. From 1557, John Venable, library colporteur from Dieppe disseminated in Pays de Caux and Lower Normandy the writings of Martin Luther and John Calvin. The first Protestant church was built in Le Havre in 1600 in the district of Sanvic at 85 rue Romain Rolland. It was destroyed in 1685 on the revocation of the Edict of Nantes by Louis XIV. It was not until 1787 and the Edict of Toleration of King Louis XVI that Le Havre reopened a Protestant place of worship in the district of Saint-François.

Le Havre was affected by the Wars of Religion: On 8 May 1562 the reformers took the city, looted churches, and expelled Catholics. Fearing a counter-attack by the royal armies, they turned to the English who sent their troops. The occupants of the city built fortifications under the Treaty of Hampton Court. The troops of Charles IX, commanded by Anne de Montmorency, attacked Le Havre and the English were finally expelled on 29 July 1563. The fort built by the English was destroyed and the tower of the Cathedral of Notre-Dame was lowered on the orders of the King. He then ordered the construction of a new citadel which was completed in 1574. New fortifications were established between 1594 and 1610. In 1581 the construction began of a canal between Harfleur and the estuary of the Seine.

The 17th and 18th centuries

The defense function of Le Havre was reaffirmed and modernization of the port began in the 16th century on the orders of Cardinal Richelieu, governor of the city: the arsenal and the Roy Basin were developed, the walls were reinforced and a fortress built. It was in the latter that Cardinal Mazarin imprisoned the Fronde princes, Longueville, Conti, and Condé. At the beginning of the reign of Louis XIV, Colbert decided to renovate the port infrastructure and military: the work lasted 14 years. In 1669, the Minister inaugurated the Havre to Harfleur canal which is also called the "canal Vauban".

Le Havre affirmed its maritime and international calling during the 17th century: the Company of the Orient settled there in 1643. There were imports of exotic products from America (sugar, cotton, tobacco, coffee, and various spices). The slave trade enriched local traders especially in the 18th century. With 399 slave trade expeditions in the 17th and 18th centuries, Le Havre was the third largest French slave trade port after Nantes and La Rochelle. Maritime trade however is subject to international relations and a European context: the wars of Louis XIV and Louis XV momentarily interrupted the development of Le Havre. The Anglo-Dutch bombarded the city several times, notably in 1694 and in 1696.

In 1707 Michel Dubocage, a Captain from Le Havre, explored the Pacific Ocean aboard the Discovery and reached the Clipperton Island. Upon his return to Le Havre, he made his fortune by setting up a trading house and bought a mansion (now a Museum) in the heart of the Saint-François district and the lordship of Bléville. Another Captain from Le Havre Jean-Baptiste d'Après de Mannevillette (1707–1780) worked for the East India Company and mapped the coasts of India and China.

From the middle of the 18th century wealthy traders were building homes on the coast. In 1749 Madame de Pompadour wanted to see the sea and Louis XV chose Le Havre to satisfy her desire. The visit was ruinous to the city's finances.

In 1759, the city was the staging point for a planned French invasion of Britain – thousands of troops, horses and ships being assembled there – only for many of the barges to be destroyed in the Raid on Le Havre and the invasion to be abandoned following the naval defeat at the Battle of Quiberon Bay.

The economic boom of Le Havre resulted in an increase of its population (18,000 inhabitants in 1787) but also resulted in changes to the port and the city: the installation of a Tobacco Factory in the Saint-François district, the expansion of the shipyards, a new arsenal, and a commodity exchange. During a visit in 1786 Louis XVI approved the project to extend the city and it was François Laurent Lamandé he chose to take on the task of quadrupling the size of the city.

The French Revolutionary Period (1789–1815)

Between 1789 and 1793 the port of Le Havre was the second largest in France after that of Nantes. The Triangular trade continued until the war and its abolition. The port remained strategic because of the grain trade (supply of Paris) and its closeness to the British enemy.

The national events of the French Revolution were echoed in Le Havre: delegates for the List of Grievances were elected in March 1789. Popular riots occurred in July and the National Guard was formed some time later. A mayor was elected in 1790, the year of celebration of the Fête de la Fédération. The year 1793 was difficult for France and for Le Havre because of the war, federalist insurrections, and economic stagnation. The religious Terror transformed Notre Dame Cathedral into a Temple of Reason. The city acquired the status of sub-prefecture in the administrative reform of the Year VIII (1799–1800). Under the Empire Napoleon I came to Le Havre and ordered the construction of forts A Chamber of Commerce was founded in 1800 but, because of the war against Britain and the continental blockade, port activity was reduced and activity of pirates increased. The population of Le Havre decreased to 16,231 inhabitants in 1815.

The prosperity of the 19th century

The end of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars allowed trade to recover normally as the British threat receded. The context of new-found peace and economic growth led to a large influx of population. Le Havre quickly outgrew its walls and new neighbourhoods appeared. Many poor were still crammed into the slum of Saint Francis. Epidemics of cholera, typhoid fever, and "fevers" caused hundreds of deaths in the years 1830–1850. Alcoholism and infant mortality wreaked havoc in the poorest classes. Throughout the 19th century, the cosmopolitan aspect of the city only strengthened: in times of maritime prosperity, the workers of the Pays de Caux were driven to Le Havre because of the crisis in the weaving industry. The implantation of a large Breton community (10% of the population Le Havre at the end of the 19th century) modified the cultural life of Le Havre. On the docks and in the factories there were Italians, Poles and North Africans. The economic success of the city attracted Anglo-Saxon, Nordic, and Alsatian entrepreneurs

The city and its port were transformed through major development work, partly funded by the state, which were spread throughout the 19th century – sometimes interrupted by political and economic crises. Several projects were completed such as construction of a new stock exchange and commercial basin in the first half of the century. There was progressive installation of gas lighting in 1835, rubbish collection (1844), and sewerage works showed a concern for urban modernization. By mid-century the old ramparts had been razed and the surrounding communities annexed to the city so the population increased sharply. The period 1850–1914 was a golden age for Le Havre. Apart from a few years of depression (the American Civil War, the Franco-Prussian War), trade exploded and the city was embellished with elegant new constructions (boulevards, city hall, courthouse, new stock exchange).

The effects of the industrial revolution were increasingly visible in Le Havre: the first steam dredge was used in 1831. The shipyards developed with Augustin Normand. Frederic Sauvage developed his first propeller in Le Havre in 1833. The railway arrived in 1848 which allowed the opening up of Le Havre. The docks were built in the same period as well as general warehouses. The industrial sector, however, remained in a minority in the 19th century: the plants were related to port traffic (shipyards, sugar refineries, rope factories, etc.). The banking sector developed but was still largely dependent on the outside. The city had few professionals and officials. The number of schools was inadequate even in the 1870s.

On the eve of the First World War Le Havre was the primary European port for coffee, it imported some 250,000 tonnes of cotton and 100,000 tons of oil. European cabotage brought wood, coal, Northern Europe wheat, and Mediterranean wine and oil. The abolition of the slave trade gradually caused a change in traffic. Le Havre was not only an entry for American goods but also a transit point for migrants to the USA. Transatlantic steamer travel grew in the 1830s.

Under the July Monarchy Le Havre was a Seaside resort popular with Parisians. The creation of marine baths went back to this time. It was in 1889 that the maritime boulevard was built, dominated by the Villa Maritime. The casino Marie-Christine (1910) and the Palace of Regattas (1906) brought the Bourgeoisie and the first Beach huts were installed on the beach. The end of the 19th century and of the Belle Époque, however, arrived with social tensions exacerbated by inflation and unemployment. From 1886, worker unrest, causing the Socialists to become increasingly influential, shook the city. The case of Jules Durand (a case in 1910 where Durand, secretary of a union of striking workers, was found guilty of complicity in murder) was symptomatic of this context.

Times of War (1914–1945)

The human toll from the First World War was heavy for the city: Le Havre suffered about 6,000 dead, mostly soldiers who left to fight. The city was spared massive destruction as the front was much further north. Several ships were nevertheless torpedoed by German submarines in the Roadstead. One of the notable facts of the war was the installation of the Belgian government at Sainte-Adresse on the outskirts of Le Havre as they had been forced to flee the German occupation. The city served as a base for the Triple Entente especially for British warships: 1.9 million British soldiers passed through the port of Le Havre.

The Interwar period was marked by the cessation of population growth, social unrest, and economic crisis. At the end of the conflict inflation ruined many pensioners. The city became largely a workers city. Shortages and high prices caused the great strike of 1922 in which a state of emergency was declared. In 1936 the Breguet factory at Le Havre was occupied by strikers: this was the beginning of the labour movement under the Popular Front. On the economic front the strong growth seen in the second half of the 19th century seemed to be over. The ports of northern Europe seriously competed with Le Havre and major port development work slowed. Oil imports, however, continued to grow and refineries emerged east of Le Havre. The global crisis of 1929 and protectionist measures hindered the development of trade. Only the travel industry was doing relatively well, with 500,000 passengers carried in 1930. The liner Normandie began sailing to New York in 1935.

In the Second World War, German forces occupied Le Havre from the spring of 1940 causing an exodus of its population. They made a naval base in preparation for the invasion of the United Kingdom (Operation Sealion) and set up the Festung Le Havre, lined with bunkers, pillboxes and artillery batteries integrated into the Atlantic Wall. For the people of Le Havre, daily life was difficult because of shortages, censorship, bombings and political anti-Semitism: Mayor Léon Meyer was forced to leave his post because of his Jewish origins. The Le Havre resistance was built around several nodes such as the group of the high school of Le Havre or the Vagabond Bien-Aimé (beloved vagabond). These groups were involved with British intelligence and with acts of sabotage preceding the landings of 6 June.

Much of the population opted to evacuate at dusk by foot, bicycle or wagon, only to return during daylight hours after the Allied Forces air bombardments were over.

Le Havre suffered 132 bombings by the Allies during the war. The Nazis also destroyed the port infrastructure and sank ships before leaving the city. The greatest destruction, however, occurred on 5 and 6 September 1944 when the British Royal Air Force bombed the city centre and the port to weaken the occupier under Operation Astonia – often described as the storm of iron and fire.

The results of the bombing campaign were appalling: 5,000 deaths (including 1,770 in 1944), 75,000 to 80,000 injured, 150 hectares of land razed, 12,500 buildings destroyed. The port was also devastated and some 350 wrecks lie at the bottom of the sea. Le Havre was liberated by Allied troops on 12 September 1944.

Despite the extensive damage, Le Havre became the location of some of the biggest Replacement Depots, or "Repple Depples" in the European Theatre of Operations in WWII. Thousands of American replacement troops poured in the Cigarette Camps i.e. Philip Morris, Herbert Tareyton, Wings and Pall Mall Camps,located in the vicinity of the town, before being deployed to combat operations.

Le Havre after 1945

General Charles de Gaulle visited Le Havre on 7 October 1944. The city received the Legion of Honour on 18 July 1949 for the "heroism with which it has faced its destruction".

In spring 1945, Raoul Dautry of the Ministry of Reconstruction and Urban Development entrusted the project to rebuild the city of Le Havre to Auguste Perret. The city council requested Brunau form part of the planning team, but subsequently he left a short time later due to creative conflicts with Perret. Perret wanted to make a clean sweep of the old structures and apply the theories of structural classicism. The material to be used for the building construction was concrete and the general plan was an orthogonal frame. Officially, the reconstruction was completed in the mid-1960s.

The triangular axis of the Boulevard François I, the Avenue Foch and Rue de Paris led the traveller north, south, east and west of the town centre. The pre-war shopping precinct of Rue de Paris was redesigned with wide footpaths. A surrounding gridiron street system allowed for opened shopping areas, far from the dense and overcrowded crannies of the old. The Place de l’Hotel de Ville, the central square, was lined with 330 apartments around the edge in varying sizes and permitted a 1000-person occupancy. State funds also allowed for the building of high-rise apartments over six blocks leading into the residential areas. These new apartments possessed the latest innovations including central heating. The Avenue Foch stretched 80 metres wide, a little more than the Champs-Élysées in Paris. The finest apartments were built here facing the northern sunlight. Beyond the concrete formations of the inner township stretched the Saint-Francois neighbourhood, made up of red-brick residences and slate rooflines. Aplemont’s three-square-kilometre rebuild consisted of detached housing, double storey terraces and small apartment blocks. A church, community centre and shops also defined the new features. The inclusion of 7.7 square kilometres (3.0 sq mi) of green spaces with parks, gardens and woodlands added to the port’s urban renewal. This equates to an average of 41 square metres of green space per inhabitant, exceptional for any European city of its time. The Museum of Modern Art and the first House of Culture in the region were inaugurated in 1961 by André Malraux. The commune was enlarged through the annexation of Bleville, Sanvic, and Rouelles.

In the 1970s economic difficulties due to de-industrialization saw, for example, the closure of Ateliers et chantiers du Havre (ACH) in 1999 and transformed the trade of the port. 1974 also saw the end of the ocean liner service to New York by the France. The Energy crisis precipitated an industry slump. Since then the city has embarked on a process of restructuring mainly oriented towards the tertiary sector: opening of the University of Le Havre in the 1980s, tourism development, and modernization of the port (Port 2000 project).

UNESCO declared the city centre of Le Havre a World Heritage Site on 15 July 2005 honouring the "innovative utilisation of concrete's potential". The 133-hectare space that represented, according to UNESCO, "an exceptional example of architecture and town planning of the post-war era," is one of the rare contemporary World Heritage Sites in Europe.

Politics and administration

Le Havre is one of two sub-prefectures of Seine-Maritime and the second largest subprefecture in France after Reims. It is also the capital of the Arrondissement of Le Havre which includes 20 Cantons and 176 communes. It is also the largest member of the Agglomeration community of Le Havre (CODAH).

The city of Le Havre is divided into nine Cantons as shown in the following table with the councillors in 2011:

For the parliamentary elections, Le Havre spans two constituencies: the seventh (cantons I, V, VI, and VII) and the eighth (cantons II, III, IV, VIII, IX).

Several politicians have spent part of their lives in the city: Jules Lecesne (1818–1878), Jules Siegfried (1837–1922), and Félix Faure (1841–1899) who was elected municipal councilor and MP. A pool, a shopping centre and a street have been named after René Coty from Le Havre who served as President of the French Republic from 1954 to 1959. Christine Lagarde (born 1956) did part of her studies in Le Havre before becoming Minister of the Economy and Director-General of the International Monetary Fund in 2011.

Since 23 October 2010 the mayor has been Édouard Philippe (UMP). He also holds the presidency of the CODAH and has held a seat in the National Assembly for the 7th district of Seine-Maritime since 2012. He succeeded Antoine Rufenacht (UMP) as the head of the municipality who was mayor of Le Havre for fifteen years before resigning. The city of Le Havre has long been the largest bastion of the Communist Party of France, who directed it from 1956 to 1995. Overall, the inhabitants of Le Havre in the 7th electoral district (city centre and west) vote right while those of the 8th electoral district (neighbourhoods) choose the candidate of the left. So, in the presidential election of 2007, the 7th electoral district elected Nicolas Sarkozy (UMP) by 55.05% against 44.95% for Ségolène Royal (PS) while the 8th electoral district preferred the Socialist candidate by 55.02%. In revenge however, the results of the 2012 presidential elections gave the PS wins in both districts with a small difference in the 7th (Hollande: 51.71% / Sarkozy: 48.29%) than in the 8th (Hollande 64.21% / Sarkozy: 35.79%).

Municipal administration

The number of inhabitants in Le Havre is between 150,000 and 199,999 so the number of councilors is 59 members. The mayor, 41 aldermen and 17 deputies form the council of Le Havre elected in 2008. It meets on average once a month at the town hall. The debates are generally public except for certain proceedings.

Le Havre has experienced many territorial extensions by annexing neighbouring communes:

  • 1852: Ingouville and parts of Graville-l'Eure and Sanvic
  • 1919: all of Graville-Sainte-Honorine
  • 1953: Bleville
  • 1955: all of Sanvic
  • 1971: part of Harfleur (a district of Caucriauville)
  • 1973: Rouelles (with the status of associated commune, 3,184 inhabitants in 2006)
  • Mayors of Le Havre

    List of Successive Mayors of Le Havre from the French Revolution to 1940

    Mayors from 1940

    Public institutions and services

    The Le Havre Palace of Justice is located on the Boulevard de Strasbourg. With its annex, it includes a high court, a juvenile court, and a commercial court. The city also has a Labour Court and District Court. Among the legal services offered there are legal aid services and the application of penalties. Le Havre depends on the Court of Appeal of Rouen. The prison, which dates from the Second Empire, was completely destroyed in 2012. The new prison for Le Havre was completed in 2010 at Saint-Aubin-Routot east of the Le Havre agglomeration. It has an area of 32,000 m2 on a site of 15 hectares and can accommodate 690 people.

    The Hospital Group of Havre is a public health facility managed by a Supervisory Board chaired by the Mayor of Le Havre. Its main structures are Flaubert Hospital (the oldest, located downtown), the Monod Hospital (in Montivilliers), the Pierre Janet Hospital (psychiatry), the house for adolescents, day hospitals, and seniors' residences. It is the largest employer in the CODAH. Built in 1987, the Jacques Monod Hospital offers a full range of care in medicine, surgery, gynecology, obstetrics, pediatrics, geriatrics, mental health follow-up care, rehabilitation, reintegration, and public health.

    Finally, there are several private clinics that offer complete care: the private clinic of the Estuary groups together the old clinics of Petit Colmoulins and François I. The private clinic of Ormeaux is located in the neighbourhood of Eure.

    During the first half of the 20th century, the 129th regiment of infantry of the line was stationed at Le Havre and left an important mark on the city so a street was named after them. The 74th Infantry Regiment of commandos was present from 1963 to 1976. Finally, Le Havre is the godmother city for BPC Mistral. The ceremony was held at the City Hall on 15 November 2009, during a stopover at the Building.


    Le Havre has twinning associations with:


    Le Havre experienced a population boom in the second half of the 19th century. Subsequently, the population drain of the First World War was offset by the annexation of the town of Graville (the city gained 27,215 people between 1911 and 1921). During the Second World War the population decreased significantly (a loss of 57,149 people between 1936 and 1946) because of the exodus and bombings. After the war the commune saw its population increase until 1975. Since then population has decreased again, especially between 1975 and 1982: during these years of industrial crisis the population fell by 18,494 people. The trend continued in the 1980s although at a slower pace. The current policy of the municipality is to build new housing to attract new residents with the goal of exceeding 200,000 inhabitants, a level that was reached in the 1960s. The population of the commune of Le Havre was 191,000 inhabitants in 1999 which placed the city at 12th place among the most populated cities in France and in the first place in Normandy. In 2009 INSEE counted 177,259 people lived in the commune of Le Havre while the urban area of Le Havre had 242,474 people (25th place nationally) and the Metropolitan area of Havre ahd 293,361 inhabitants.

    In 2009, the commune had 177,259 inhabitants. The evolution of the number of inhabitants is known through the population censuses conducted in the commune since 1793. From the 21st century, a census of communes with fewer than 10,000 inhabitants is held every five years, unlike larger towns that have a sample survey every year.

    Population Change (See database)

    Sources : Ldh/EHESS/Cassini until 1962, INSEE database from 1968 (population without double counting and municipal population from 2006)

    In 2009, the birth rate was 14.2 per thousand and the mortality rate was 9.4 per thousand: even though the Rate of natural increase is positive it does not compensate for the clearly negative Net migration rate. In 2009 19% of Le Havre's population was under 15 years old and 40% were under 29 years old which was above the average for metropolitan France. 18.4% of men and 25.6% of women were over 60 years old. The population is mainly concentrated in the city centre and Côte-Ormeaux. The foreign population is estimated at 8,525 persons or 4.8% of the population. 12,148 immigrants live in Havre, or 6.8% of the urban population. Most have North African (5060) or African (3114) origins.

    With the economic changes that have affected the city, the Professions and Socio-professional categories (PCS) have changed dramatically since the 1980s: between 1982 and 1999, the number of workers has declined by about a third (−10,593), their share of the active labour force was 16% in 1982 and 12.5% in 1999. The population of workers is concentrated in the southern suburbs close to the port and the industrial zone. At the same time the numbers of executives and intellectual professions increased by 24.5%, which is explained in part by the creation and development of the University of Le Havre. In 2009 the city had a lower proportion of managers and intellectual occupations than the national average (4.2% against 6.7%). The proportion of workers (15.9%) was one point higher than the national average. Going from 13.5% to 11.7% of the labour force, the rate of unemployment has decreased between 1999 and 2009. However, it remains higher than in the rest of the country. The proportion Le Havre people in short-term employment (CDD and interim work) is higher than the national average. Finally, the proportion of Le Havre people with a degree from higher education dramatically increased from about 21% in 1999 to 32.1% in 2009 against 24.5% for metropolitan France. However, this proportion has increased since 2009.


    Le Havre is located in the Academy of Rouen. The city operates 55 kindergartens (254 classes) and 49 communal primary schools (402 classes). The department manages 16 colleges and the region of Haute-Normandie manages 9 schools. The Jules Valles collage in Caucriauville is classified as a sensitive institution and eleven colleges are in a priority education zone (ZEP). A boarding school of excellence, the Claude Bernard college, opened in 2011. The first college in Le Havre dates to the 16th century, the high school François I was founded during the Second Empire and is the oldest in Le Havre. The philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre (1905–1980) and Raymond Aron (1905–1983) taught there. The writer Armand Salacrou (1899–1989) studied in this institution.

    List of Public Colleges in Le Havre

    Private Junior High Schools

  • Collège du Sacré Cœur
  • Collège Saint-Joseph
  • Collège Les Ormeaux
  • Collège Montesquieu
  • List of Public Sixth-form Colleges/Senior High Schools in Le Havre

  • Lycée Claude Monet
  • Lycée général et technologique Porte-Océane
  • Lycée François I
  • Lycée général et technologique Robert Schuman
  • Lycée Jules Siegfried
  • Private Sixth-form Colleges/Senior High Schools

  • Lycée Saint-Joseph
  • Public Vocational High Schools

  • Lycée technique et professionnel Françoise de Grâce
  • Lycée professionnel Jules Lecesne (Hotel trades and services)
  • Lycée professionnel Jules Siegfried (Electronic and Mechanical trades)
  • Lycée professionnel Antoine Laurent de Lavoisier (Transport and Logistics – Metallic structures – automobiles)
  • Lycée professionnel Auguste Perret (Housing trades)
  • Lycée professionnel Claude Monet (Accounting – Secretarial)
  • Lycée professionnel Porte Océane (Accounting – Secretarial)
  • Lycée professionnel Robert Schuman (Industry)
  • Private Vocational High Schools

  • Lycée professionnel Germaine Coty
  • Lycée professionnel Saint Vincent de Paul
  • Lycée professionnel Jeanne d'Arc
  • Special schools and higher education

    In 2011 there were approximately 12,000 students in all disciplines in Le Havre. Opened in 1986, the University of Le Havre is recent, medium-sized and well located: the largest campus is virtually in the centre of the city near railway and tram stations. The campus includes a University Library (2006), a gym, several dining halls with student housing, a structure incorporating a theatre, an orientation service, and student associations. In 2010–2011, 6,914 students were enrolled including 5,071 undergraduates, 1,651 Masters students, and 192 postgraduate students. The university also trains 317 engineering students including the Logistical Studies Higher Education Institute (ISEL). It offers 120 Diplomas of State prepared by the Faculty of Science and Technology, Faculty of International Affairs, and the Faculty of Arts and Humanities. Many courses are offered are related to the port operations, logistics, industry, and sustainable development. Twelve languages are taught and 17% of students are foreigners. The University of Le Havre is also a research centre with nine laboratories. It works in partnership with other higher education institutions (INSA Rouen, IEP, IUFM, and Normandy University). The University Institutes of Technology of Le Havre occupies two main sites: one in the upper town in the Caucriauville-Rouelles district which was opened in 1967 and another in the Eure district since 2011. The IUT has a total of 1,881 students divided into ten departments preparing for the DUT. There is also a branch of the teacher training institute of Rouen (IUFM) for two courses (CAPET of technology and CRPE school teacher).

    In addition there is a large number of specialized higher education institutions covering a wide range of different areas. Founded in 1871, the Ecole Superieure de Commerce du Havre, one of the oldest in France, has merged with Sup Europe and l'IPER to create the Normandy Business School in 2006. This School had over 2,800 students on its five campuses (Le Havre, Caen, Deauville, Oxford and Paris ) in 2015. Since the 2007 school year, the Institute of Political Studies of Paris opened a Euro-Asia cycle in Le Havre. The National School of The Merchant Marine trains Officers of the First Class for the Merchant Marine: currently located at Sainte-Adresse, it will move to the Bassin Vauban in 2015 in a building that will house 1,000 students. The National Higher School of Petrol and Motors (ENSPM) is a school for specialist petroleum engineers, petrochemists, and engine makers. The ITIP (National Institute for International Transportation and Ports) prepares students for careers in the multimodal transport and port business. The (Institut national des sciences appliquées|National Institute of Applied Sciences of Rouen) (INSA) opened a branch in Le Havre in 2008 with a civil engineering and sustainable construction department. The SPI (Axis of Science for the Engineer) is expected to reopen in 2012 in a new building in the Eure district.

    In the arts, the Conservatory of Departmental Radiance Arthur Honegger is attended by 1,680 students (music, dance and drama). The Graduate School of Art of Le Havre (ESAH) offers several degrees and preparation for competition. Finally 800 people study in paramedical and social schools mostly in the IFSI (Institute of Training in Nursing) which has approximately 600 students.


    The city of Le Havre has some of the oldest sports clubs in France: the Le Havre Rowing Society (1838), the Regatta Society of Le Havre (1838), and Le Havre Athletic Club (1872), doyen of French football and rugby clubs.

    The city also hosted the sailing events for the 1900 and 1924 Summer Olympics, respectively.

    Le Havre is dominated by three professional sports teams: the first is the Le Havre AC football team who played in Ligue 1 for the last time in 2008–2009 and is currently in Ligue 2. Its training centre, which is well-reputed for having trained international French players Vikash Dhorasoo, Julien Faubert, Jean-Alain Boumsong, Lassana Diarra, and also Steve Mandanda who is consistently ranked in the top ten in France. The second major sports team is Saint Thomas Basketball who represent the city in LNB Pro A. Thirdly the HAC women's team who play in the first division with many international players in its ranks. The team won their first major national title, the Coupe de France for women's handball in 2006. Le Havre Rugby athletic club plays in Fédérale 3 (equivalent to 5th division). The Hockey Club of Le Havre played at the fourth level nationally (Division 3) for the 2008–2009 season. The team is nicknamed the "Dock's du Havre".

    The maritime side of the city is found in many sports: for example, the tradition of sailing is old. On 29 July 1840 the first French pleasure boat regatta was held. Today, Le Havre is known as a water sports and Seaside resort. The marina can host deepwater vessels around the clock in any weather. Built in the Interwar period, it is now the largest in Seine-Maritime with about 1,300 moorings additional moorings were installed in the Vauban basin in 2011–2012. The Havraise Rowing Society has trained many rowers to a high level as Thierry Renault. The Club Nautique Le Havrais (CNH) is the centre of mixed swimming, synchronized swimming, and men's water polo. The Centre Nautique Paul Vatine is the fifth largest club in the country for the number of sports licenses it holds; it ranks second in the Division 1 of the Championship France for Catamaran Clubs.

    Several major local sportsmen began their career at Le Havre: the swimmer Hugues Duboscq was an Olympic medallist several times. In judo the French team has two members from Le Havre: Dimitri Dragin and Baptiste Leroy. Jerome Le Banner is a professional kick-boxer at world level who participates in the K-1 championship. Finally the navigator Paul Vatine, who was lost at sea in 1999, won the Transat Jacques Vabre several times.

    Sports facilities

    The city has 99 sports facilities including 46 gymnasiums, 23 sports fields, and 5 swimming pools. The Stade Océane (Ocean Stadium), inaugurated in July 2012, replaced the Stade Jules Deschaseaux. With 25,000 seats, it can host football matches as well as other sporting and cultural events. Basketball and Handball matches are playued in the Dock Océane hall (3600 seats) while ice hockey is played at the ice hockey rink (900 seats). Of the five swimming pools in the city, two are operated by the municipality: the CNH (which has an Olympic pool for competitions) and Les Bains Des Docks (which was designed by the architect Jean Nouvel). Le Havre has the largest free outdoor skatepark in France with approximately 7,000 m2 allocated to the urban Boardsport. The port infrastructure allows for many water activities such as sailing, fishing, canoeing, and rowing. Finally, the beach is a place for kitesurfing, windsurfing and surfing.

    Sporting events

    Le Havre has been and is still the venue of major sports events: the Tour de France has passed a dozen times by the Ocean Gate, the last stage took place here in 2015. Sailing events are often held and the Transat Jacques Vabre transatlantic race has been held every two years since 1993 linking Le Havre to Latin America. The course of the Solitaire du Figaro was partly in Le Havre in 2010. Since 2006, weekends of freestyle board sports have been popular (skateboarding, rollerblading, funboard, kiteboarding, skydiving etc.). Every summer roller blade events are organized in the city on Friday evening every fortnight and have great success. The first International Triathlon was held in 2012. Finally, there are several opportunities for runners with ten kilometres (6.2 miles) in Le Havre or the strides of Montgeon.


    Five newspapers cover the Le Havre agglomeration: the dailies Le Havre libre, Le Havre Presse, Paris Normandie in its Le Havre edition in collaboration with Le Havre Presse and Liberté-Dimanche (communal Sunday edition of the previous three) are part of the Hersant group which is currently in serious financial trouble and looking for a buyer. A free weekly of information, Le Havre Infos (PubliHebdo group) has been published since 2010 every Wednesday and is available in many places in the city.

    Several magazines provide local information: LH Océanes (Municipal magazine) and Terres d'Agglo (Agglomeration Area magazine) to which must be added several free magazines: Aux Arts (cultural information more focused on the Basse-Normandie region) Bazart (cultural events in Le Havre but now with circulation across all of Normandy), and HAC Magazine (news about HAC). Several newspapers are also available on the Internet: Infocéane, Le Havre on the Internet.

    A local televised edition on France 3, France 3 Baie de Seine, is broadcast every evening then again on France 3 Haute Normandie. Radio Albatros is a local station installed in the Sanvic du Havre district transmitting on FM frequency 88.2. Radio Vallée de la Lézarde, based in Épouville, RESONANCE on 98.9, and RCF Le Havre are other radio stations. It was in Le Havre radio stations that the journalist and television host Laurent Ruquier, who was born in Le Havre in 1963, began his career. Several national and regional radio stations are relays for Le Havre: local information on France Bleu Haute Normandie, local relay from 12 noon to 4pm on Virgin radio Normandie 101.8 FM, local relay for Information from 6am to 9am and from 4pm to 8pm on NRJ Le Havre 92.5 FM. Associations like LHnouslanuit and Only-Hit have tried to develop alternative and cultural local radio by featuring local community associations (Papa's Production, Ben Salad Prod, Asso6Sons, Agend'Havre, Pied Nu, I Love LH).


    At the request of Monsigneur André Mulch, Archbishop of Rouen, Pope Paul VI decided on 6 July 1974 through the papal bull Quae Sacrosanctum on the creation of the diocese of Le Havre (Portus Gratiae in Latin meaning "Port of Grace"). The diocese was created from part of the parishes of the Archdiocese of Rouen to the west of a line joining Norville to Sassetot-le-Mauconduit. Monseigneur Michel Saudreau, its first bishop, was ordained on 22 September 1974. The church of Notre Dame was promoted to Cathedral Notre Dame du Havre. Today, the commune of Le Havre is divided into eight parishes and 24 places of worship (churches and chapels). The oldest chapel is Saint-Michel d'Ingouville which dates back to the 11th century. The Church of Saint Joseph du Havre, built by Auguste Perret, dominates the city with its spire 107m high. There are several monastic establishments (Carmel of the Transfiguration, Franciscan Monastery, Little Sisters of the Poor, etc.).

    The Protestant Church of Le Havre was built in the city centre in 1862. Bombed in 1941, it lost its pediment, its bell tower, and roof. Rebuilt in 1953 by the architects Jacques Lamy and Gérard Dupasquier, who worked in the Auguste Perret office, is the only building in Le Havre uniting the original architecture of the 19th century with the architecture of the Perret school. Le Havre also has seven evangelical Protestant churches: Salvation Army, Seventh Day Adventist, Apostolic Church, Assembly of God, Baptist Church, Good News Church, et Church of Le Havre as well as several Protestant churches of African origin.

    The city also has seven Muslim places of worship: the socio-cultural association of Muslims in Upper Normandy, En-Nour Mosque on Rue Paul Claudel, El Fath Mosque on rue Victor Hugo, Bellevue mosque on rue Gustavus Brindeau, and three prayer rooms located on rue Audran, Boulevard Jules Durant, and rue Lodi. The synagogue, located in the rebuilt central city, was visited by President Jacques Chirac in April 2002. It is the seat of the association consistoriale israélite du Havre whose president is Victor Elgressy.


    In 2006 the median household income tax was 14,667 euros, which put Le Havre at 22,251th place among the 30,687 communes of more than 50 households in France. Although well developed and diversified, the local economy relies heavily on industrial sites, international groups, and subcontracted SMEs. The Le Havre economy is far from decision centres which are located mainly in Paris and major European economic cities. There is therefore a low representation of head offices in the city with the exception of some local economic successes such as the Sidel Group (now a subsidiary of Tetra Pak) – a distributor of interior furniture, and the ship-owner Delmas which was recently acquired by the CMA-CGM group.


    With 68.6 million tons of cargo in 2011, the port of Le Havre is the second largest French seaport in trade volume behind that of Marseille and 50th largest port in the world. It represents 60% of total French container traffic with nearly 2.2 million Twenty-foot equivalent unit|EVP]s in 2011. At the European level, it is 8th largest for container traffic and 6th largest for total traffic. The Port receives a large number of oil tankers that transported 27.5 million tonnes of crude oil and 11.7 million tonnes of refined product in 2011. Finally, 340,500 vehicles passed through the Roll-on/roll-off terminal in 2010. 75 regular shipping lines serve 500 ports around the world. The largest trading partner of the port of Le Havre is the Asian continent which alone accounts for 58% of imports by container and 39.6% of exports. The rest of the traffic is distributed mainly to Europe and America.

    Le Havre occupies the north bank of the estuary of the Seine on the Channel. Its location is favourable for several reasons: it is on the most frequented waterway in the world; it is the first and last port in the North Range of European ports – the largest in Europe which handles a quarter of all global maritime trade. As a deepwater port, it is accessible to all types of ships whatever their size around the clock. At the national level, Le Havre is 200 kilometres (124 mi) west of the most populous and richest region in France: Île-de-France. Since its founding in 1517 on the orders of François I, Le Havre has continued to grow: today it measures 27 km (17 mi) from east to west, about 5 km (3 mi) from north to south with an area of 10,000 hectares (24,711 acres). The last big project called Port 2000 increased the handling capacity for containers.

    The port provides 16,000 direct jobs to the Le Havre region, to which must be added indirect jobs in industry and transport. With approximately 3,000 employees in 2006, the activities of distribution and warehousing provide more jobs, followed by road transport (2,420 jobs) and handling (2,319 jobs).

    In 2011, 715,279 passengers passed through the port of Le Havre and there were 95 visits by cruise ships carrying 185,000 passengers. The port expects 110 cuise ship calls in 2012. Created in 1934, the leisure boat harbour of Le Havre is located to the west and is the largest French boat harbour in the Channel with a capacity of 1,160 moorings. Finally, there is a small fishing port in the Saint-François district and a Hawker centre.


    Most industries are located in the industrial-port area north of the estuary and east of the city of Le Havre. The largest industrial employer (2,400 employees) of the Le Havre region is the Renault public company in the commune of Sandouville. The second important sector for the industrial zone is petrochemicals. The Le Havre region has more than a third of French refining capacity. It provides about 50% of the production of basic plastics and 80% of additives and oils with more than 3,500 researchers working in private and public laboratories. Large firms in the chemical industry are mainly in the communes of Le Havre (Millenium Chemicals Le Havre), Montivilliers (Total S.A., Yara, Chevron Oronite SA, Lanxess, etc.) and Sandouville (Goodyear Chemicals Europe). A total of 28 industrial establishments manufacture plastics in the Le Havre area many of which are classed as SECESO.

    There are several firms in the aerospace industry: the Aircelle-Safran Group, a sub-contractor of Airbus making with thrust reversers, is located in Harfleur and employs 1,200 people from the Le Havre area. Finally, Dresser-Rand SA manufactures equipment for the oil and gas industry and employs about 700 people. In the energy field, the EDF thermal power plant of Le Havre has an installed capacity of 1,450MW and operates using coal with 357 employees. The AREVA group announced the opening of a factory for building wind turbines: installed in the port of Le Havre, it should create some 1,800 jobs. The machines are designed for Offshore wind power in Brittany, the UK, and Normandy.

    Other industries are dispersed throughout the Le Havre agglomeration: the Brûlerie du Havre, which belongs to Legal-Legoût, located in the district of Dollemard that roasts coffee, Sidel located both in the industrial area of Port of Le Havre and Octeville-sur-Mer designs and manufactures blow moulding machines and complete filling line machines for plastic bottles.

    Services sector

    The two largest employers in the service sector are the Groupe Hospitalier du Havre with 4,384 staff and the City of Le Havre with 3,467 permanent employees. The city has long been home to many service companies whose activity is related to port operations: primarily the ship-owning companies and also the marine insurance companies. The headquarters of Delmas (transport and communications, 1,200 employees) and SPB (Provident Society Banking, insurance, 500 employees) have settled recently at the entrance to the city. The head office of Groupama Transport (300 employees) is also present.

    The transport sector is the largest economic sector in Le Havre with 15.5% of employment. Logistics occupies a large part of the population and the ISEL trains engineers in this field. Since September 2007 the ICC has welcomed local students in their first year in the relocated Europe-Asia campus of the Institute of Political Studies of Paris. Higher Education is represented by the University of Le Havre which employs 399 permanent professors and 850 lecturers as well as by engineering companies like Auxitec and SERO.

    There are many growth factors in the tourist industry: blue flag rating, World Heritage status from UNESCO, the label French Towns and Lands of Art and History, cruise ship development, a policy of value-creation from heritage, and the City of the Sea project. In early 2010 the city had 22 hotels with a total of 1,064 rooms.

    Le Havre is the seat of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Le Havre. It manages the Le Havre Octeville Airport.

    Cultural events and festivals

    Le Havre's festival calendar is punctuated by a wide range of events.

    In spring a Children's Book Festival was recently created. In May there is the Fest Yves, a Breton festival in the Saint-François district. On the beach of Le Havre and Sainte-Adresse there is a jazz festival called Dixie Days in June. In July, detective novels are featured in the Polar room at the Beach hosted by The Black Anchors. Between the latter also in the context of Z'Estivales is an event offering many shows of street art throughout the summer supplemented by the festival of world music MoZaïques at the fort of Sainte-Adresse in August since 2010. In mid-August there is a Flower parade which passes through the streets of the central city.

    In the first weekend of September the marine element is highlighted in the Festival of the Sea. This is a race between Le Havre and Bahia in Brazil. Also every November there is a fair held in the Docks Café. The Autumn Festival in Normandy, organized by the departments of Seine-Maritime and Eure, and the Region of Haute-Normandie, runs from September to November and offers numerous concerts throughout the region as well as theatre performances and dance. In late October, since 2009, there is rock music festival which has been at the fort of Tourneville since the moving of the Papa's Production association site there. The West Park Festival, after its inauguration in 2004, has been held in the park of the town hall of Harfleur.

    Since 1 June 2006 a Biennale of contemporary Art has been organized by the group Partouche.

    Cultural heritage and architecture

    Many buildings in the city are classified as "historical monuments", but the 2000s marked the real recognition of Le Havre's architectural heritage. The city received the label "City of Art and History" in 2001, then in 2005 UNESCO inscribed the city of Le Havre as a World Heritage Site.

    The oldest building still standing in Le Havre is the Graville Abbey. The other medieval building in the city is the Chapel of Saint-Michel of Ingouville. Because of the bombing in 1944, heritage from the modern era is rare: Le Havre Cathedral, the Church of Saint Francis, the Museum of the Hotel Dubocage of Bleville, the House of the ship-owner and the old palace of justice (now the Natural History Museum) are concentrated in the Notre-Dame and Saint-François areas. The buildings of the 19th century testify to the maritime and military vocations of the city: the Hanging Gardens, the Fort of Tourneville, Vauban docks, and the Maritime Villa. The heritage of the 1950s and 1960s which were the work of the Auguste Perret workshop forms the most coherent architecture: the Church of Saint Francis and the Town Hall are the centrepieces. The all curved architecture of the "Volcano", designed by Oscar Niemeyer, contrasts with that of the rebuilt centre. Finally, the reconstruction of many districts is a showcase for the architecture of the 21st century. Among the achievements by renowned architects are the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (René and Phine Weeke Dottelond), Les Bains Des Docks (Jean Nouvel).


  • Le Havre Cathedral: the first stone of the building was laid in 1536. It is the seat of the Bishop of Le Havre.
  • Church of Saint Joseph, one of the most recognized symbols of the city. The belltower is one of the tallest in France, rising to a height of 107 metres. It was designed by Auguste Perret.
  • Church of Saint Michel
  • Church of Saint Vincent
  • Church of Saint François
  • Church of St. Anne
  • Church of Saint Marie
  • Chapel of Saint Michel d'Ingouville (15th century)
  • Graville Abbey, a monastery dedicated to Sainte Honorine, set in grounds on the northern bank of the Seine River.
  • Presbyterian Reform Church (Eglise Réformée), 47 rue Anatole France, built in 1857, bombed in 1941, the roof and ceiling were rebuilt in 1953 by two architects from the famous Auguste Perret office: Jacques Lamy and Gérard Dupasquier, The only building in town offering both ancient and the new Perret school of architecture in the same building. Holy Office each Sunday morning at 10.30.
  • Museums

    Five Museums in Le Havre have the distinction of being classified as Musées de France (Museums of France) an official label granted only to museums of a high status. The five museums are:

    Museum of modern art André Malraux – MuMa

    The most important of the five, Museum Malraux was built in 1955 by the Atelier LWD and was opened in 1961 by André Malraux. This museum houses a collection of art from the late Middle Ages until the 20th century. The impressionist paintings collections are the second most extensive in France after those of the Orsay Museum in Paris. The museum houses some paintings of Claude Monet, Auguste Renoir, Raoul Dufy, Edgar Degas... I.

    Musée du Vieux Havre (Museum of old Le Havre)

    A Museum dedicated to the history of Le Havre with many objects from the Ancien Régime and the 19th century: furniture, old maps, statues, and paintings.

    Musée d'histoire naturelle (Museum of Natural History).

    Founded in 1881 but heavily damaged during World War II, the Museum of Natural History is housed in Le Havre’s former law courts, built in the mid-18th century; the façade and monumental staircase are listed as historical monuments. The museum houses mineralogy, zoology, ornithology, palaeontology and prehistory departments as well as 8,000 early 19th-century paintings from the collection of local naturalist and traveller Charles-Alexandre Lesueur (1778–1846). The museum was destroyed during Allied bombings on 5 September 1944. The library was lost, along with its collections of photographs, scientific instruments and archives. The mineral and geological collections were all destroyed, including a rare collection of local mineral specimens of Normandy. The destruction of the museum was so intense, that all the catalogues, lists of donations, lists of purchases and other archives prevented even a precise inventory of all that was lost."

    The Shipowner's house

    From the 18th century; like the Museum of Old Havre it is dedicated to the History of Le Havre and contains many relics from the Ancien Régime as well as furniture, old maps, statues, and paintings.

    Museum of the Priory of Graville

    The Museum at the Priory of Graville displays many items of religious art including statues, madonnas, and other religious objects many of which are classified by the Ministry of Culture. It also houses the Gosselin collection of 206 model houses created by Jules Gosselin in the 19th century.

    Other less important museums reflect the history of Le Havre and its maritime vocation. The apartment-control (Apartement-Temoine) was a standard apartment designed by in 1947–1950 and shows a place of daily life in the 1950s. The maritime museum displays objects related to the sea and the port. Finally, there are numerous exhibitions in the city such as the SPOT, a centre for contemporary art, art galleries, and Le Portique – a contemporary art space opened in 2008; the municipal library of Le Havre regularly organizes exhibitions.

    Other attractions include:

  • The former tribunal (18th century)
  • The Town Hall: the modern belfry which now contains offices
  • The "Volcan" cultural centre built by Oscar Niemeyer
  • Square St. Roch
  • Japanese Garden
  • Theatres, auditoriums and concerts

    There are two main cultural axes in Le Havre: the central city and the Eure district. The Espace Oscar Niemeyer consists of a part of the "Great Volcano", a national theatre seating 1,093 (which houses the National Choreographic Centre of Le Havre Haute-Normandie directed by Hervé Robbe) and secondly the "Little Volcano" with a 250-seat multi-purpose hall for live performances. The whole Espace Oscar Niemeyer has been worked on since 2011: the little volcano will be transformed into a multimedia library. As for the performances at the Great Volcano, they are now taking place in the old ferry terminal until the end of construction. Other cultural institutions of the city centre are being transformed: the cinema of art and a trial of Le Sirius facing the University will reopen in 2013. Le Tetris at the fort of Tourneville will, in 2013, be a place devoted to contemporary music. Other cultural venues are scattered in the city centre: the cinema Le Studio, the theatre of the City Hall (700 seats), the Little Theatre (450 seats), the Théâtre des Bains Douches (94 seats), Akté theatre (60 seats), and the Poulailler (Henhouse)) (associative theatre with 50 seats) host numerous shows each year. The National Choreographic Centre of Le Havre Haute-Normandie specialises in the creation and production of dance shows. Other shows and performances are given in other places and at the Conservatory Arthur Honegger.

    The second cultural centre of the city is in the Eure district near the Basin Vauban. Docks Océane is a multi-purpose hall (concerts, shows, and sporting events) which can accommodate up to 4,700 spectators in 1,800 square metres (19,000 sq ft). The largest cinema in Le Havre is located on the Docks Vauban (2,430 seats). The Docks Café is an exhibition centre of 17,500 square metres (188,000 sq ft) used for shows, fairs, and exhibitions. The Magic Mirrors offers many concerts managed by the city and leased to private organizers.

    Following the closure of Cabaret Electric which was located in the Espace Oscar Niemeyer in 2011 a new auditorium, Le Tetris, is under construction at the Fort of Tourneville. It was scheduled to open in September 2013 with a large festival free-of-charge. It will consist of two halls with 800 and 200 seats, exhibition space, housing for artists in residence, a restaurant etc. Le Tetris will be a venue for contemporary music as well as theatre, dance, and visual arts. An "expectation" outside the walls was held on the site of the fort during 2012 and early 2013.

    Libraries and archives

    The main library is located in the city centre, named after the writer Armand Salacrou. It has branches in all districts. A new multimedia library at the "Volcano" is being refurbished for 2014. Thousands of references are available in specialized libraries in the Higher School of Art, the Museum of André Malraux, and the Natural History Museum. Of medieval manuscripts and Incunables are conserved at the public library. The archives of the city, at the Fort of Tourneville, possesses documents from the 16th to the 20th centuries.

    Le Havre in visual arts

    The Port of Le Havre and the light on the estuary of the Seine inspired many painters: Louis-Philippe Crepin (1772–1851), Jean-Baptiste Corot (1796–1875), Eugène Isabey (1803–1886), Theodore Gudin (1802–1880), Adolphe-Felix Cals (1810–1880), Jean-François Millet (1814–1875) in 1845, Gustave Courbet (1819–1877) etc.. It is to Eugène Boudin (1824–1898) who created many representations of Le Havre in the 19th century. The artist lived for a time in the city. Thanks to its proximity to Honfleur, Le Havre was also represented by foreign artists such as William Turner, Johan Barthold Jongkind, Alfred Stevens, and Richard Parkes Bonington.

    Claude Monet (1840–1926), a resident of Le Havre from the age of five, in 1872 painted Impression soleil levant (Impression, Sunrise), a painting that gave its name to the impressionist movement. In 1867–1868, he painted many seascapes in the Le Havre region (Terrasse a Sainte-Adresse (Garden at Sainte-Adresse), 1867 Bateaux quittant le port (Boats Leaving the Port), 1874). The Musée Malraux houses some of his paintings : Waterlilies, London Parliament et Winter Sun at Lavacourt. Two other Impressionists, Camille Pissarro (1830–1903) and Maxime Maufra (1861–1918) also represented the port of Le Havre which also inspired Paul Signac (1863–1935), Albert Marquet (1875–1947), and Maurice de Vlaminck (1876–1958).

    Then came the school of Fauvism in which many artists did their training at Le Havre: Othon Friesz (1879–1949), Henri de Saint-Delis (1876–1958), Raoul Dufy (1877–1953), Georges Braque (1882–1963), Raymond Lecourt (1882–1946), Albert Copieux (1885–1956), who followed the course of the School of Fine Arts of Le Havre in the time of Charles Lhuillier. They left a number of paintings on the theme of the city and the port. In 1899, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864–1901) painted La serveuse anglaise du Star (The English waitress of Star) (Museum Toulouse-Lautrec, Albi) of a girl he met in a bar in the city.

    Other painters who painted Le Havre and/or its surroundings such as Sainte-Adresse can be cited in particular: Frédéric Bazille, John Gendall, Thomas Couture, Ambroise Louis Garneray, Pablo Picasso (Souvenir du Havre). Jean Dubuffet studied at the School of Art in Le Havre.


    With nearly 70 films, Le Havre is one of the provincial cities most represented in the cinema. Several directors have chosen the port facilities as part of their movie:

  • L'Atalante by Jean Vigo (1934)
  • Le Quai des brumes by Marcel Carné (1938)
  • Un homme marche dans la ville by Marcello Pagliero took place in the port and the Saint-François district after the Second World War.
  • Ce qu'ils imaginent by Anne Théron (2004)
  • The city has also hosted the filming of several comedies such as:

  • Le Cerveau by Gérard Oury (1968)
  • La Beuze (2002)
  • Disco (2008)
  • La Fée, also presented at the Directors' Fortnight in 2011.
  • The film by Sophie Marceau, La Disparue de Deauville, made in 2007, contains many scenes around the port of Le Havre, in the Coty shopping centre of Coty and in the streets of the central city.

    The film Le Havre by Aki Kaurismaki received two prizes at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival and also the Louis Delluc Prize. It was nominated three times for the 37th César Awards.


    Le Havre appears in several literary works as a point of departure to America: in the 18th century, Father Prevost embarked Manon Lescaut and Des Grieux for French Louisiana. Fanny Loviot departed from Le Havre in 1852, as an emigrant to San Francisco and points further west, and recounted her adventures in Les pirates chinois (A Lady's Captivity among Chinese Pirates in the Chinese Seas, 1858).

    In the 19th century, Le Havre was the setting for several French novels: Honoré de Balzac described the failure of a Le Havre merchant family in Modeste Mignon. Later, the Norman writer Guy de Maupassant located several of his works at Le Havre such as Au muséum d'histoire naturelle (At the Museum of Natural History) a text published in Le Gaulois on 23 March 1881 and again in Pierre et Jean. Alphonse Allais located his intrigues at Le Havre too. La Bête humaine (The Human Beast) by Émile Zola evokes the world of the railway and runs along the Paris-Le Havre railway. Streets, buildings, and public places in Le Havre pay tribute to other famous Le Havre people from this period: the writer Casimir Delavigne (1793–1843) has a street named after him and a statue in front of the palace of justice alongside another man of letters, Bernardin de Saint-Pierre (1737–1814).

    In the 20th century, Henry Miller located part of the action in Le Havre in his masterpiece Tropic of Cancer, published in 1934. Bouville was the commune where the writer lived who wrote his diary in La Nausée (The Nausea) (1938) by Jean-Paul Sartre who was inspired by Le Havre city where he wrote his first novel. There are also the testimonies of Raymond Queneau (1903–1976), born in Le Havre, the city served as a framework for his novel Un rude hiver (A harsh winter) (1939). The plot of Une maison soufflée aux vents (A house blown to the winds) by Emile Danoën, winner of the Popular Novel Prize in 1951, and its sequel Idylle dans un quartier muré (Idyll in a walled neighbourhood) were located in Le Havre during the Second World War. Under the name Port de Brume Le Havre is the setting for three other novels by this author: Cerfs-volants (Kites), L'Aventure de Noël (The Adventure at Christmas), and La Queue à la pègre (Queue to the underworld). Michel Leiris wrote De la littérature considérée comme une tauromachie (Of literature considered like a bullfight) in December 1945.

    Diana Gabaldon set the second novel in her Outlander series, Dragonfly in Amber (1992), partly in Le Havre.

    Two mystery novels take place in Le Havre: Le Bilan Maletras (The Maletras Balance) by Georges Simenon and Le Crime de Rouletabille (Crime at the Roulette table) by Gaston Leroux. In Rouge Brésil (Red Brazil), winner of the Goncourt Prize in 2001, Jean-Christophe Rufin describes Le Havre in the 16th century as the port of departure of French expeditions to the New World: the hero Villegagnon leaves of the port to conquer new lands for the French crown which become Brazil. Martine–Marie Muller tells the saga of a clan of Stevedores from Le Havre in the 1950s to the 1970s in Quai des Amériques (Quay of the Americas).

    Benoît Duteurtre published in 2001, Le Voyage en France (Travel in France), for which he received the Prix Médicis: the main character, a young American impassioned by France, lands at Le Havre which he describes in the first part of the novel. In 2008, Benoît Duteurtre publishes Les pieds dans l'eau (Feet in the water), a highly autobiographical book in which he describes his youth spent between Le Havre and Etretat. The city hosted writers such as Emile Danoën (1920–1999) who grew up in the district of Saint-François, Yoland Simon (born 1941), and Philippe Huet (born 1955). Canadian poet Octave Crémazie (1827–1879) died at Le Havre and was buried in Saint Marie Cemetery. The playwright Jacques-François Ancelot (1794–1854) was also a native of Le Havre. Two famous historians, Gabriel Monod (1844–1912) and André Siegfried (1875–1959) were from the city.

    Le Havre also appears in comic books: for example, in L'Oreille cassée (The Broken Ear) (1937), Tintin embarks on the vessel City of Lyon sailing to South America. The meeting between Tintin and General Alcazar in Les Sept Boules de cristal (The Seven Crystal Balls) (1948) is in Le Havre, according to notes by Hergé in the margins of Le Soir, the first publisher of this adventure. The first adventure of Ric Hochet (1963), the designer Tibet and André-Paul Duchâteau, Traquenard au Havre (Trap at Le Havre) shows the seaside and the port. Similarly, in 1967, for the album Rapt sur le France (Rapt on France), the hero passes by the ocean port. Frank Le Gall, in Novembre toute l'année (November all year) (2000) embarks Theodore Poussin at Le Havre on the Cap Padaran.


    Le Havre is the birthplace of many musicians and composers such as Henri Woollett (1864–1936), André Caplet (1878–1925) and Arthur Honegger (1892–1955). There was also Victor Mustel (1815–1890) who was famous for having perfected the harmonium.

    Le Havre has long been regarded as one of the cradles of French rock and blues. In the 1980s many groups have emerged after a first dynamic development in the 1960s and 1970s. The most famous personality of Le Havre rock is Little Bob who began his career in the 1970s. The port tradition in many of the groups was repeated in the unused sheds of the port, such as Bovis hall which could hold 20,000 spectators. A blues festival, driven by Jean-François Skrobek, Blues a Gogo existed for eight years from 1995 to 2002. Several artists have been produced such as: Youssou N'Dour, Popa Chubby, Amadou & Mariam, Patrick Verbeke etc. It was organized by the Coup de Bleu association whose former president was head of music Café L'Agora in the Niemeyer Centre which produced the new Le Havre scene. During these same years, the Festival of the Future, the local version of the Fête de l'Humanité (Festival of Humanity), attracted a large audience.

    Currently, the musical tradition continues in the Symphony Orchestra of the city of Le Havre, the orchestra of Concerts André Caplet, the conservatory, and music schools such as the Centre for Vocal and Musical Expression (rock) or the JUPO (mainly jazz), associations or labels like Papa's Production (la Folie Ordinaire, Mob's et Travaux, Dominique Comont, Souinq, Your Happy End etc.). The organization by the association of West Park Festival since the 2000s in Harfleur and since 2004 at the Fort of Tourneville is a demonstration. Moreover, since 2008, the association I Love LH was started and promotes Le Havre culture and especially its music scene by organizing original cultural events as well as the free distribution of compilation music by local artists.

    Board Game

    Main articles: Le Havre (board game)

    Le Havre is a board game about the development of the town of Le Havre. It was inspired by the games Caylus and Agricola and was developed in December 2007.

    The Norman language

    Main articles: Norman language and Cauchois dialect.

    The legacy of the Norman language is present in the language used by the people of Le Havre, part of which is identified as speaking cauchois. Among the Norman words most used in Le Havre there are: boujou (hello, goodbye), clenche (door handle), morveux (veuse) (child), and bezot (te) (last born).

    Notable people linked to Le Havre

    Le Havre was the birthplace of:

  • Georges de Scudéry (1601–1667), novelist, dramatist and poet
  • Madeleine de Scudéry (1607–1701), writer
  • Jacques-Henri Bernardin de Saint-Pierre (1737–1814), writer and botanist
  • Charles Alexandre Lesueur (1778–1846), naturalist, artist and explorer
  • Casimir Delavigne (1793–1843), poet and dramatist
  • Gabriel Monod (1844–1912), historian
  • Alfred-Louis Brunet-Debaines (1845–c. 1935), artist
  • Louis Bachelier (1870–1946), mathematician
  • Raoul Dufy (1877–1953), painter
  • André Caplet (1878–1925), composer and conductor
  • René Coty (1882–1962), French president (1954–1959)
  • Arthur Honegger (1892–1955), composer, a member of Les Six
  • Thomas Roberts (1893–1976), Roman Catholic archbishop
  • Jean Dubuffet (1901–1985), artist
  • Jean Mallon (1904–1982), palaeographer
  • Raymond Queneau (1903–1976), poet and novelist
  • Jacques Leguerney (1906–1997), composer
  • Tristan Murail (born 1947), composer
  • Laurent Ruquier (born 1963), journalist
  • Jérôme Le Banner (born 1972), K-1 Fighter
  • Olivier Durand (born 1967), guitarist for Elliott Murphy
  • Eugenia DeLamare (1824–1907) – Guilherme Schüch – Wife – Baron Von Capanema
  • Elvire Murail (born 1958), writer for chidren
  • Vikash Dhorasoo, (born 1973), International footballer
  • Gueïda Fofana, footballer
  • Olivier Davidas, footballer
  • Dimitri Dragin, judoka
  • Sylvain Poirier, mathematician
  • Julien Faubert, footballer
  • Fouleymata Camara, handball player
  • Kevin Anin, footballer
  • govy, (born 1981), artist
  • Others linked to the city
  • Rex Cherryman, died here in 1925
  • Patrick Demarchelier, fashion photographer, born in Le Havre
  • Christine Lagarde, IMF managing director, grew up in Le Havre
  • Jean-Paul Sartre, philosopher, taught at the François-I high school
  • References

    Le Havre Wikipedia

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