The English translation for Le Havre is ‘the harbor’ and Le Havre is the busiest seaport in France. Allied bombing raids in September 1944 killed 3,000 civilians during the Normandy invasion and all but destroyed the city. The rebuilding of the town was completed by August Perret and most of the restoration was done with reinforced concrete. Because of this undertaking, Le Havre is now listed as an UNESCO World Heritage site. Attractions in Le Havre include a hilltop garden with panoramic views of the city, a towering church with a captivating stained-glass tower, and a museum full of captivating paintings completed by several artists.
1. St. Joseph’s Church
Photo is only for illustrative purposes
Belgian Auguste Perret’s incredible architecture for this church is a Neo-gothic modern design that really shows what can be accomplished with reinforced concrete. The temple is a 107-meter (351 feet) tall self-supporting tower that showers you with amazing sunlight shining through stained glass. The church has a presence that can be seen from almost anywhere in Le Havre and it is a guiding light for all marine traffic at night when the lights are lit in the tower.
St. Joseph's Church
Address: 130 Boulevard François 1er, 76600 Le Havre, France
Website: St. Joseph’s Church, Le Havre
2. Museum of Modern Art André Malraux
The Museum of Modern Art is a steel and glass building of very modern styling and is located next to the marina in Le Havre. The museum houses nearly five centuries of art and since the late 19th-century, Le Havre has been the home or birthplace of several exceptional artists like Monet, Dufy, Dubuffet, Friesz, and Braque. The museum also contains the most comprehensive collection in the world of Eugène Boudin’s art.
Museum of Modern Art André Malraux
Address: 2 Boulevard Clemenceau, 76600 Le Havre, France
3. The Port of Le Havre
Is a seaport an attraction? It probably doesn’t sound appealing to a lot of travelers, but if you have an interest in industrial, modern superstructures, you could really enjoy negotiating the piers and service centers to one of the world’s largest and modern shipping ports. Le Havre services the largest freighters which ‘sail the seven seas.’ Check out the enormous François I lock, which connects the system of canals to the open sea. Do you think you might need a cultural incentive to visit the port? Claude Monet’s paintings of Le Havre Harbor in 1872 saw the beginning of the Impressionist movement in the late 19th-century.
4. Maison de l’Armateur
The home, or more specifically, the townhouse was designed by Paul-Michel Thibault, who also proposed the city’s defenses. It was left untouched during the city’s WW II bombing and has been maintained as a historic landmark since 1950. The townhouse is an enlightening symbol of life in Le Havre at the beginning of the 19th-century. It is situated on Quai de l’île in the Quartier Saint-François. The Maison de l’Armateur (House of the Ship-owner) contains artwork and furnishings dating from the 1700s and 1800s and includes a plush library, a rich merchant’s study, and several curious cabinets in the 5-story building constructed around a courtyard, which is lit from the roof by an eight-sided skylight.
Maison de l’Armateur
Address: 3 Quai de l'Île, 76600 Le Havre, France
Website: Maison-Musée de l'Armateur
5. Les Jardins Suspendus (The Hanging Gardens)
This marvelous garden is unique in the way that the harbor and the city are spread out below the hilltop where the garden is situated, and for the way it acclimates to what was once a 19th-century fortress. Purchased by the city in 2000, this botanical paradise was opened to the public in 2008. As you enter you walk past the antiquated blockhouses of the 19th-century fort and enter a realm of outdoor garden beauty, organized by hothouses and plots according to the geographic source of the plants they nurture. On the site, the gardens are themed to especially honor today’s botanical pioneers and one garden is themed for two early-20th century botanists that were based in Le Havre - the Cayeux brothers.
Les Jardins Suspendus
Address: 84 Rue du Fort, 76620 Le Havre, France
Website: Les Jardins Suspendus
6. Park de Rouelles
There are 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) of walking paths to navigate as well as ponds, woodlands, undulating fields, and open countryside in the 160 hectares (395 acres) of the Parc de Rouelles. Along the way, you will be filled with amazement and wonderment when you see the Colombier, a circular building with a funnel roof, situated here since 1631. During a stroll through the woodlands, you can observe 36 different families of trees containing 259 species of trees from all over the world, including a beech tree variety from Chile, the Gingko Biloba from China, as well as many species from this part of the world.
Parc de Rouelles
Address: Rue de la Bouteillerie, 76610 Le Havre, France
Website: Parc de Rouelles
7. Le Havre Cathedral
The Le Havre Cathedral is the oldest building to have survived the bombing of 1944; said by some that the survival was due to ‘divine intervention.’ Construction of the cathedral happened in the late 1500s and it has a stunning architecture of the times; extravagant baroque and gothic styles. Actually, it hasn’t been a cathedral for a long time because the Catholic Diocese of Le Havre didn’t come into being until 1974. Inside, the noblest artifact that survived Le Havre’s bombing was 'The Great Organ,’ which was donated by Cardinal de Richelieu.
Le Havre Cathedral
Address: Rue de Paris, 76600 Le Havre, France
8. Quartier St. Vincent
The Saint-Vincent Quarter is built around the Church of Saint-Vincent-de-Paul. It is a large square that joins with streets that contain 19th-century homes and mansions and the square is decorated with many beautiful trees. This city quarter or district is situated between the rebuilt city center and the beach; notable that this district avoided the carnage of 1944.
9. Hotel Dubocage Bléville
One of the largest and loveliest mansions in the Quartier Saint-François; it contains an enriching museum depicting Le Havre’s history and seafaring trade. It was built in the early 17th-century. Many artifacts such as several different types of glassware dating from the 16th to the 19th-centuries, maps, Chinese porcelain, etc., are all part of the permanent exhibition.
Hotel Dubocage Bléville
Address: 1 Rue Jérôme Bellarmato, 76600 Le Havre, France
Website: Hotel Dubocage de Bléville
10. Espace-Oscar-Niemeyer-Le Volcan
Complete your voyage of exploration of this wonderful city with a visit to the modern cultural center and UNESCO site at Le Volcan. The center is nationally recognized for its music, dance, and theater entertainment venues.
Address: Le Volcan Niemeyer, 76600 Le Havre, France
A lifetime of memories
Le Havre, France - A destination providing you with attractions that will remain in your memory for a lifetime. In addition to visiting the attractions, you must take time for relaxation - dining and entertainment. Le Havre can fulfill these needs with any type of cuisine and all types of entertainment. Book now; this remarkable destination and the friendly people await you!
Get Trip101 in your inbox
You can buy and claim online, even after you've left home. Travel insurance from WorldNomads.com is available to people from 140 countries. It’s designed for adventurous travellers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities.
*5% off when you book with our promo code: TRIP101
*For our Canadian and US travellers, unfortunately due to financial services laws, we cannot provide a discount. This promotional code cannot be used with any other discount offer, including World Nomads Members’ discount for travel insurance policy holders.