The seaside port town ofLe Havreis a very strange place to visit, and you’ll wonder what happened to the town as you make your way around it. The town was decimated during the war, thanks to bombing raids throughout the six year period, and was completely rebuilt at the end of the war.
Unfortunately for the town its lead architect was Auguste Perret who completely ignored the number of UNESCO world heritage sites and the countries fantastic heritage of architecture and built a town tribute to concrete. Ironically he had the last laugh as UNESCO have since turned up and labelled the entire town one of their world heritage sites, probably to make sure no one ever does the same again.
None the less, there are still things to do here, and it’s a great place to catch the ferry to before hiring a car and making your way further into the country.
You’ll most likely get to the town by boat, with regular crossings fromPortsmouthrun by IDLines. The ferry goes from theUKtoFrancein the afternoon, and returns overnight.
You can also fly from Brighton, Jersey andLyonto the local airport, which has daily flights to and from all three destinations, before hiring a car at the airport.
Things to do when hiring a car in Le Havre.
Whilst we might advise hiring a car and putting your foot down to escape the stain on your eyes, there is actually quite a bit to do in the town and we run through the best of it below.
Located right on the tip of the town, the Musee Malraux has a wonderful modern building, which houses a range of impressionist pieces, from some of the finest artists who ever lived. With examples from Picasso and Monet to savour, as well as Eugene Boudin, a Le Havre native and his fellow townsman Fauvist Raoul Dufy, who has his own exhibition.
Les Docks Vauban
If shopping is your thing, then this is the place to go. Ignore the fact it’s built entirely of concrete and concentrate on the fine range of shops, as well as the restaurants that serve brilliant food in the centre. You can also go to the cinema here, with a huge multiplex built in, you guessed it, concrete.
The most famous venue in the town is actually the work of a different architect, Brazilian Oscar Niemeyer, but he’s managed to keep the building nicely in touch with the rest of the city. Called the toilet bowl by the locals, the building itself is home to an art cinema which is renowned throughout the country, and some fabulous concert halls.
As the name suggests, the hanging gardens are a range of outdoor spaces with gardens hanging from the roof. It’s actually a rather brilliant use of another horrible concrete office block which now has hothouses and gardens with plants from five different continents. Best of all kids go free and adults only cost a Euro.