Le Havre like many port cities and towns is often only registered by those arriving by sea and even then, it’s only to disembark and drive…
Tag Archives: FR – Le Havre the City Rebuilt by Auguste Perret
We share all the best things to do in Normandy, France, including the best museums and Normandy beaches, what Normandy foods you have to try, where to stay in Normandy, and much more.
Le Havre in Normandy is an ancient town with a contemporary footprint. It’s a UNESCO listed city, recognised for its extraordinary architecture.
Le Havre’s origins go back to 1517 when Francis 1 commissioned the construction of a port, it was known then as Francispolis. These days Le Havre is one of the biggest of French ports, a vast, vibrant and buzzing city.
UNESCO World Heritage Site
Le Havre suffered enormous damage during World War II and afterwards needed almost complete rebuilding. The architect who oversaw the rebuild didn’t have to worry too much about preserving the past, it was nearly all gone. Belgium born Auguste Perret, teacher to another famous architect who also left his mark on France, Le Corbusier, was the man entrusted with bringing Le Havre back to life. He persuaded the town planners to let him use reinforced concrete as his main medium. In those days, it was an unusual idea. Then, and even now, it’s not a commonly seen sight, or at least not in France. Think Manhattan meets Star Wars.
Khrushchovka apartments: the French dream that became a Soviet reality; Vera Melnychuk; EuroMaidanPress
When Nikita Khrushchev, the ruler of the USSR in the 1950’s visited France, he had no idea that the visit would trigger the largest social construction era in the USSR. But that’s exactly what happened.
According to one version of the story, the French showed off new block residences in which post World War II immigrants settled.
‘Once visitors arrive, it’s easy to seduce them’: Le Havre celebrates its 500th year; Mary Winston Nicklin; The Washington Post
When Julia Child arrived in Le Havre in 1948, disembarking the oceanliner America for a new life in France, she described the port: “giant cranes, piles of brick, bombed-out empty spaces, and rusting half-sunk hulks left over from the war.”
Nearly 70 years later, my young daughters are riveted to a trottinette (scooter) competition at the beachfront skate park, swaying to the music that has drawn young and old alike to bask in the spring sunshine on the promenade. Dogs are pulling at their leashes; hand-holding couples gaze at the marina yachts; a retiree plays with his new drone on the beach.
On the occasion of the city’s 500th anniversary, we’re on a spring weekend getaway from our Paris home. Behind us, St. Joseph’s Church lords over the bustling port, the busiest in France for shipping-container traffic.
The Old City of Hebron in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and a rare collection of futuristic buildings in Eritrea are among sites hoping to gain protected status from UNESCO when it meets in Poland from Sunday.
The meeting of the World Heritage Committee of the UN’s scientific and cultural body in Krakow will also examine concerns about high-rise buildings that threaten the historic centre of Vienna.
Seven natural sites, 26 cultural sites and one mixed site could be added to the list of more than 1,000 places which have protected status during the July 2-12 meeting.
Inclusion in the coveted list is often a source of national pride and can increase tourist numbers but it can also trigger rows and diplomatic friction.
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
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.