|This article may be expanded with text translated from the corresponding article in the French Wikipedia. (March 2012)|
|Mayor||Edouard Phillippe (UMP)
(2010 - 2014)
|Land area1||46.95 km2 (18.13 sq mi)|
|- Ranking||12th in France|
|- Density||3,829 /km2 (9,920 /sq mi)|
|Urban area||182.45 km2 (70.44 sq mi) (2006)|
|- Population||246,195 (2006)|
|Metro area||615.39 km2 (237.60 sq mi) (2006)|
|- Population||291,765 (2020)|
|Time zone||CET (UTC +1)|
|1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.|
|2 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.|
|Le Havre, the City Rebuilt by Auguste Perret|
|Name as inscribed on the World Heritage List|
|UNESCO region||Europe and North America|
|Inscription||2005 (30th Session)|
Le Havre (French pronunciation: [lə ɑvʁ]) is a city in the Seine-Maritime department of the Haute-Normandie region in France. It is situated in north-western France, on the right bank of the mouth of the river Seine on the English Channel. Le Havre is the most populous commune in the Haute-Normandie region, 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). Its port is the second busiest in France (after that of Marseille). Since 1974 it has been the see of the diocese of Le Havre. The name Le Havre means the harbour or the port.
Le Havre was founded as a new port by royal command, partly to replace the historic harbours of Harfleur and Honfleur which had become increasingly impractical due to silting-up. The city was founded in 1517, when it was named Franciscopolis after Francis I of France, and subsequently named Le Havre-de-Grâce ("Harbour of Grace") after an existing chapel of Notre-Dame-de-Grâce ("our Lady of Grace").
On 20 April 1564, it 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.
In the 18th century, Le Havre began to grow, as trade from the West Indies was added to that of France and Europe. 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 Quiberon.
The German-occupied city was devastated during the Battle of Normandy in World War II: 5,000 people were killed and 12,000 homes were totally destroyed, mainly by Allied air attacks. Despite this, Le Havre became the location of one of the biggest Replacement Depots, or "Repple Depples" in the European Theatre of Operations in WWII. Thousands of American replacement troops poured through the city before being deployed to combat operations. Le Havre was honoured with the Legion of Honour award on 18 July 1949. After the war, the centre was rebuilt in modernist style by Auguste Perret. UNESCO declared the city centre of Le Havre a World Heritage Site on 15 July 2005, in honoring the "innovative utilisation of concrete's potential." The 133-hectare space that represents, 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.
The port city of Le Havre suffered catastrophic damage during the Second World War. Like other French coastal towns, the port fell under German occupation in 1940. Thousands of residents evacuated to refugee camps, to neighbouring towns and to makeshift shelters during this period. 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 (Dombrowski-Risser 2009, p. 63). Le Havre’s destruction culminated during the Battle of Normandy. On September 5 and 6, 1944, Allied forces began their assault to liberate the city. The majority of the 132 bombardments to hit the city during the war occurred in the course of this campaign, often described as the “storm of iron and fire” (Clout 1999, p. 187). The city was liberated from German occupation on September 12, 1944.
Le Havre, France’s second largest port, experienced the worst damage of any city in the country. More than 90% of the city was left in rubble; all major public buildings in the administrative centre including the stock exchange, city hall, and post office were destroyed, as well as churches, the two hospitals, schools, shops and housing (Arnaud 2009). The port was rendered unusable due to the scattered wrecks blocking the channels and access to the docks. Major fires broke out in the city in the following days, destroying what little remained of historical significance. The city’s water mains had been obliterated by the RAF bombings, making the task of putting out the fires next to impossible (Fowle 1992). By the end of the war, a total of 5,000 civilians had been killed, 12,500 buildings destroyed and 80,000 people left homeless (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) 2005). Much of the earth was heavily mined and shelled; the original road grid was erased from physical memory. The majority of the housing stock in the north-eastern suburbs of Aplemont and Graville had been entirely flattened. The task of recovery and reconstruction would require immense planning, both locally and from Paris. It was now up to the planners and policy makers to restore Le Havre.
Structured urban planning ideas and preparations had been in the works for Le Havre long before World War II. The French Government drew up a law in 1919 specifying that any city with a population greater than 10,000 required a “plan for urban improvement, development and beautification” (UNESCO 2005, p. 4). The port struggled with the deprivations of many European cities at the time. After the booming period of the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century, the city’s population growth spiraled without structured urban planning to speak of. Appalling standards of sanitation and living conditions led to cramped and gloomy courtyards, polluted air and flooded basements in the residential neighbourhoods. Planning based on property speculation resulted in low-quality construction of buildings and roads (Clout 1999, p. 189). Little development took place between the wars, even with the proposal of sanitation plans provided by private companies. The wartime Vichy government enacted a master plan for redevelopment in 1941 under the CRI agency for reconstruction, led by appointed urban planner Felix Brunau. Following the height of destruction, plans were shelved until 16 November 1944, when the French government formed the Ministry of Reconstruction and Urbanism (MRU) to resurrect damaged cities (Muller 2006). Many of the problems surrounding the erection of temporary housing on private land would be ironed out beneath this administration, at the expense of the state under expropriation.
Auguste Perret (1874–1954), a formative architect-turned-town-planner was commissioned to oversee the reconstruction of the city centre and town plan in January 1945 by Raoul Dautry of the MRU (Kuhl, Lowis & Thiel-Siling 2008, p. 61). 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 (UNESCO 2005, p. 5). Traditionally built on the moist soil of marshlands, the new grid of Le Havre was envisioned by Perret to be elevated by 3.5 metres of concrete (Collins 2004, p. 273). Though this plan was unsuccessful due to costs and shortage of materials, debris was used to raise the level of the town centre. The use of reinforced concrete throughout the city’s buildings came to impose strength of character and dominance of the port. With relatively free access to land and space, Perret and his team of 60 architects and planners had the ability to interpret the spatiality of the city as required.
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 (Frampton 1995, p. 145). The Place de l’Hotel de Ville, the central square, was lined with 330 apartments around the edge in varying size and permitted a 1000-person occupancy. State funds also allowed for the build of high-rise apartments over six blocks leading into the residential areas. These new apartments possessed the latest innovations including central heating (Clout 1999, p. 199). 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.
Major public buildings designed by Perret himself include the Hotel de Ville, the Bourse du Commerce, and the churches of Saint Michel and Saint Joseph. Saint Joseph’s and its 110-metre-tall spire holds significant value for the city as it is a built remembrance for Le Havre residents who lost their lives during the war. The inclusion of 7.7 square kilometres 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. Le Havre’s historical significance in urban planning and revolutionary architecture culminated in the site’s addition to the World Heritage list under the UNESCO in 2005 (Global Compact Cities Program 2007).
The arms of Le Havre are blazoned :
The Arms of Le Havre under the 1st Empire.
Le Havre is situated in the southwest of the Pays de Caux region. The city is bordered by the seashore of the English Channel to the west, the mouth of the Seine to the south, and the coast to the north. Historically, the Seine marked a natural boundary between Haute-Normandie and Basse-Normandie; the city of Honfleur has often been referred to by the Havrais as being "on the other coast." As a port city on an exposed marshy coast, Le Havre has long suffered from poor land links. New road connections have been built since; among the most notable is the Pont de Normandie, which connects the two banks of the Seine and reduces travelling time between Honfleur and Le Havre to less than 15 minutesLe Havre is naturally separated into two areas by a cliff.
- The ville basse, or lower city, comprises the port, the city centre, and the peripheral regions. It was constructed on the ancient marshlands which were drained in the 16th century. The soil is composed of alluvium deposited by the river Seine. The city centre, reconstructed after World War II, stands on approximately a metre (3.3 ft) of flattened rubble.
- The ville haute, or upper city, is composed of "sensitive urban areas" or ZUS (Mont-Gaillard, Caucriauville, and Mare-Rouge ). The wealthy north-west region of the upper city (Sainte-Adresse and Dollemard) is the highest in altitude (between 90 and 115 metres.)
A road tunnel, a funicular railway and, since 2012, a tram tunnel ease transport between the lower and upper cities.
|Mayor||Term start||Term end||Party|
|René Cance||January 1956||March 1959||PCF|
|Robert Monguillon||March 1959||March 1965||SFIO|
|René Cance||March 1965||March 1971||PCF|
|André Duromea||March 1971||October 1994||PCF|
|Daniel Colliard||October 1994||June 1995||PCF|
|Antoine Rufenacht||June 1995||October 2008||RPR, UMP|
|Édouard Philippe||October 2008||incumbent||UMP|
|Climate data for Le Havre|
|Average high °C (°F)||6
|Average low °C (°F)||3
The population of the Le Havre area was about 191,000 in 1999, which makes it the 12th most populous city in France and the most populous in Haute-Normandie (although the total population of the greater Le Havre conurbation is smaller than that of Rouen). It has seen a drop in population, particularly from 1975 to 1982; during these years of industrial decline, the population fell by 18,000. During the 1980s, the population continued to decrease, though less rapidly. Le Havre's city limit had a population of around 249,000 in 1999 (25th in France) and the urban area had a population of 297,000. With 20% of the population less than 20 years old, the city of Le Havre is relatively young; the population is also shrinking. The foreign-born population is estimated at 8,200, 4% of the population. Due to the economic changes that have affected the city, the French classification of occupations (fr) evolved greatly in the 1980s; between 1982 and 1999, the number of blue-collar workers decreased by a third (11,000). At the same time, the number of office workers and professionals increased by 25%, which partly explains the creation and development of the University of Le Havre.
Main sights 
Le Havre was heavily bombed during the Second World War. Many historic buildings were lost as a result.
- 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 St. 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 St. Michel
- Church of St. Vincent [Eglise St. Vincent:
- Church of St. François [Eglise St. François:
- Church of St. Anne [Eglise St. Anne:
- Church of St. Marie
- St. Michel d'Ingouville chapel (15th century) [St. Michel Chapel:
- 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 was rebuilt in 1953 by two architects of the famous Auguste Perret office: Jacques Lamy and Gérard Dupasquier, Only one building in the town offering both: ancient and new Perret school architectures in the same building. Holy Office each Sunday morning at 10.30.
- Musée des Beaux-Arts André Malraux : this museum houses a collection of art spanning the past five centuries; the impressionist paintings collections are the second most extensive in France after those of the Orsay Museum in Paris. There are paintings by Claude Monet and other artists who lived and worked in Normandy. Some of the paintings are by Eugène Boudin, Eugène Delacroix, Gustave Courbet, Edgar Degas, Édouard Manet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Georges Seurat, Raoul Dufy, and Alfred Sisley. One of the museum's latest purchases is Vague, par temps d'orage by Gustave Courbet. The collection of Olivier Senn (1864–1959), given to the museum in 2004, contains more than 205 paintings.
- Musée du Vieux Havre
- Musée d'histoire naturelle (Museum of Natural History). The museum was 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 collection was reconstituted after fire damaged the building during the 1944 bombings. The museum was founded by the city in 1838; it boasts mineralogy, zoology, ornithology, palaeontology and prehistory departments, and a collection of early 19th-century paintings by local naturalist and traveller Charles-Alexandre Lesueur (1778-1846). The museum was destroyed during Allied bombings on September 5, 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 catalogs, lists of donations, lists of purchases and other archives prevented even a precise inventoiry of all that was lost."
- The Shipowner home (18th century)
- The former tribunal (18th century)
- The town Hall : the modern belfry contains offices
- The "Volcan", cultural centre built by Oscar Niemeyer
- Square St. Roch
- Japanese Garden
Le Havre has well-developed national road, rail and air links (Octeville airport) and is two hours by train from Paris, with services running to the Gare du Havre. Local transport is based on an extensive bus network and, since December 2012, a tram network. A ferry service to Portsmouth in the United Kingdom runs from the Terminal de la Citadelle. The service is operated by LD Lines. Crossing times are 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.
The Port of Le Havre is the largest deep-water ocean port of France.
The town is home to the Le Havre AC football team, who as of 2011-12 play in Ligue 2, the 2nd tier of French football. It was founded in 1872, making it the oldest football club in France. The city also hosted the sailing events for the 1900 and 1924 Summer Olympics, respectively.
Twin towns 
- Dalian, China
- Pointe-Noire, Republic of the Congo
- Saint Petersburg, Russia, since 1965
- Magdeburg, Germany
- Southampton, United Kingdom, since 1973
- Tampa, United States
- Bergen, Norway
- Aydın, Turkey
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;
- Raymond Queneau (1903–1976), poet and novelist;
- Jacques Leguerney (1906–1997), composer;
- Tristan Murail (1947 - ), composer;
- Laurent Ruquier (1963 - ), journalist;
- Jérôme Le Banner (1972 - ), K-1 Fighter;
- Olivier Durand (1967 - ), Guitarist for Elliott Murphy;
- Eugenia DeLamare (1824–1907) - Guilherme Schüch - Wife - Baron Von Capanema;
- Vikash Dhorasoo,(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;
- Hadja Sawaneh, handball player.
- Edouard (Eddy) Bonutto, (1931 - 2012) baker;
- INSEE: National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (French)
- 1900 Summer Olympics official report. p. 16. Retrieved 14 November 2010. (French)
- 1924 Olympics official report. p. 584. (French)
- "Narrative of Le Moyne- TheNewWorld.us". TheNewWorld.us. Retrieved 9 October 2011.
- Ambrose, Stephen. Citizen Soldiers, p 274-277.
- "Insee - Thèmes - Territoire - DUIC - Agglomération (unité urbaine) : Le Havre". Insee.fr. Retrieved 16 September 2011.
- "Weatherbase". June 2011. Retrieved 10 November 2007.
- [dead link]
- [dead link]
- [dead link]
- [dead link]
- “Les Collections Biologiques du Muséum avant le désastre du 5 Septembre 1944.” Bulletin de la Société Géologique de Normandie et des Amis du Muséum du Havre. Tome 40. 1936-1950. Pages 12, 17, 22.
- "Le Havre Portsmouth Timetables | Cross Channel Ferry". LD Lines. Retrieved 2013-03-12.
- "Le Havre Website - Twin Towns". lehavre.eu. Retrieved 29 November 2008.
- "Saint Petersburg in figures - International and Interregional Ties". Saint Petersburg City Government. Retrieved 23 November 2008.
Further reading 
- "Le Havre", The Encyclopaedia Britannica (11th ed.), New York: Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1910, OCLC 14782424
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Le Havre|
- Official website (French)
- Official tourism website
- Official tourism website (French)/(other languages)
- English site (Archive)