Worth a visit in Le Havre

At the mouth of the Seine, the major port of Le Havre is a model of concrete grandeur.

Not to be missed

> The Saint-Joseph church Auguste Perret’s most uplifting design in the rebuilding of Le Havre, this sky-scraping church is visible from afar thanks to its remarkable 350ft high octagonal lantern tower. Inside, the tower is illuminated all the way up by stained glass pieces. The vast open space below is impressive. The church is considered a masterpiece of 20th century architecture as well as an emblem of European post-war reconstruction.

> The town centre, rebuilt by Auguste Perret Discover the town centre in pictures (website in French)

> The Perret model apartment You can see inside a model Perret apartment. The furniture is also original.

> Le Volcan (Volcano) This strikingly shaped cultural centre rises beside Le Havre’s most central dock. It dates from 1982 and was designed by renowned Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer. In white painted concrete, it brings great curves into the rectilinear city devised by Perret. The building includes two separate volumes: above, a theatre and a cinema; below a concert hall for modern music.

> The MuMa André Malraux Museum of Modern Art This modern building, a wonderful light box of glass, contains a fabulous collection of Impressionist works, the largest in France after the Musée d'Orsay in Paris. While contemplating seaside works by the greatest names in French 19th and early 20th century art, watch all manner of real boats and ships slipping past, going in and out of the Seine estuary just beyond the building.

> Notre-Dame Cathedral One of the few major historic buildings to survive the war.

> Vauban Docks (website in French) These docks were built from 1840 onwards along the same lines as the London docks. They have now been refurbished to house big stores and leisure facilities.

> Les Bains des Docks Among exciting recent architectural projects in Le Havre for the 21st century, this stylish, fun aquatic centre with spa is the most appealing to visitors. It was designed by one of the most celebrated architectural practices in contemporary France, that of multi-award-winning Jean Nouvel.

> The Maison de l‘Armateur (Shipowner's House) With its 18th century architecture and its interior built around a light well, this intriguing museum set in a former shipowner’s house reflects the history of Le Havre.

> Muséum d'Histoire Naturelle (Natural History Museum) Housed in the grand former 18th century law courts that also survived the war bombs, this natural history museum displays fine collections of palaeontology and zoology, together with the unique collection of 8,000 drawings and manuscripts of the naturalist Charles Alexandre Lesueur.

> The Marina Facing the sea, backed by smart apartment blocks, Le Havre’s marina is packed with yachts

> Le Havre skatepark Close to the marina, this is the largest skate-park in France.

> The beach and its promenade In summer, cabins for bathers are set up along the long pebble beach, along with appealing sea front bars and restaurants. Plus there’s a broad cycle track running beside the beach, to be enjoyed year-round.

> Jardins Suspendus Here, a 19th century fort on the heights above the town centre has been transformed to create gardens with great views. The gardens are free and just a small fee allows you to see inside the greenhouses below.

Nearby

> Prieuré de Graville (Graville Priory)

> The Impressionist Itinerary Nine panels reproduce famous Impressionist works executed at Le Havre and Sainte-Adresse, on the actual site where they were painted. The itinerary begins at the Bassin du Commerce and continues to the beach at Sainte-Adresse. A leaflet is available at the Le Havre Tourist Office.

Nearby

Not to be missed