Le Havre Vacations
In the resplendent region of Normandy, within northern France, lies the coastal city Le Havre. Le Havre translates to "the port" or "harbor" city and is located within the Seine-Maritime department, close to the Prime Meridian. It was founded by King Francis I in 1517 and is the second largest port in France.
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The aptly named Best Western ARThotel is located in an architectural masterpiece, designed by the renowned Auguste Perret, and UNESCO World Heritage Site. All of its rooms were completely renovated in 2020.
Over the centuries, Le Havre and the Seine have both served as inspiration to a variety of painters, including Claude Monet who depicted the port within his famous “Impression, Sunrise.” The city has also brought forward a strong architectural movement over the years. After World War II, nearly three quarters of Le Havre’s buildings were destroyed and have since been rebuilt and conceptualized with a contemporary and artistic flare. In 2005, UNESCO inscribed the central city of Le Havre as a World Heritage Site, due to these unique post-WWII reconstructions. With its stunning architecture, rich history, and vibrant art, Le Havre is a popular tourist destination for those who want to explore France’s coastline and creative culture.
What to see
One of Le Havre’s prime architectural examples is St. Joseph's Church. Standing at 351 feet tall, the church is known for its tall, sleek design and numerous stained-glass windows. Quoted as a “symbol of the renaissance,” this structure is a dramatic merger of concrete and light.
MuMa - Musée d'art moderne André Malraux, is an art museum housing a vast collection of paintings, sculptures, and photographs, many from different eras. Its collection contains one of the nation's most extensive collections of Impressionism. Between 1952 and 1961, the museum's new modern design was left in the hands of Guy Lagneau, and was the first major museum to be rebuilt in France after World War II.
Casino Barrière Deauville is a feast for the eyes as well as the senses. Built in 1912, this casino immediately welcomes its guests with its majestic entrance, rich red/gold décor, columns, grand chandeliers, a Renaissance-style cinema, and a large assortment of slot machines or gambling tables. The Casino Barrière Deauville is intended to entertain and to dazzle.
For those who love the outdoors, the city contains several parks and gardens, including the Jardins Suspendus, which offers breathtaking views of the city and sea. Park Rouelles, is an arboretum with large open spaces for walking or for the kids to play. Lastly, Les Planches, which is an observation deck and boardwalk that overlooks the beach, dates back to the 1920’s.
When to Go
Due to its location on the coast, weather is commonly cooler and windy. The best time to visit Le Havre is during the summer season, from June to August. The weather is often warmest at that time, making it perfect for outdoor or coastal activities. The city is also bustling with festivals and cultural events within the summer months, such as the Le Havre - Festival de la Lumière where the city is illuminated by a spectacular display of light installations and projections. In the fall and winter, the city quiets and cools down, which makes this an ideal time for those who prefer a more relaxed atmosphere, with less crowds.