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Le Havre on the Côte d’Albâtre

30 minutes from the hotel

Right opposite Honfleur lies Le Havre. This atypical and resolutely modern city might just surprise you. Thanks to the Pont de Normandie bridge that links Upper and Lower Normandy across the estuary of the Seine, Le Havre is easily and quickly accessible from our hotel in Honfleur.

The city is known as the “ville salamandre” as it was founded by King Francis I with his salamander emblem in the 16th century. Made famous the world over by Claude Monet and his masterpiece “Impression, Sunrise”, Le Havre has a unique architecture and cultural life with many riches. Nearly entirely destroyed during the Second World War, it rose like a phoenix from the ashes, rebuilt in striking modernist style by great architects (Perret, Niemeyer, Reichen & Robert, Jean Nouvel). This striking architecture led to its listing as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2015.

Bold in its design as well as its events, there’s always something new going on in Le Havre, with a multitude of sporting and cultural activities on offer. A nautical city, proud of its “Pavillon Bleu” label that guarantees good-quality coastal water, is also a cruise port that has become one of Northern Europe’s top destinations thanks to its proximity to Paris. It’s also a listed Ville d’Art et d’Histoire (city of art and history), and is one of Impressionism’s birthplaces.

Some of the must-sees include the port, the cruise terminal with its huge liners, the seafront with its 2-km long beach, the Saint-Joseph church (easily the symbol of Le Havre’s rebirth) and the Notre-Dame cathedral. There’s also the Jardins Suspendus (hanging gardens) in a former fort dating from the 19th century that offers a great view of the sea and the estuary of the Seine, plus the Japanese Garden, the MuMA (André Malraux Museum of Modern Art) with the second largest collection of Impressionist painting after the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, as well as the Natural History Museum.