The centre of town is eaily covered on foot. A local bus service runs regularly around town. The ferry port and train station are a short walk out from the centre of town and buses run on these routes. Rent a bike for a few euros at the tourist office or at the bus parked along the beach during the season.
Le Havre Sightseeing
The city was originally built on the orders of François I in 1517 to replace the ancient ports of Harfleur and Honfleur, then silting up, and its name was soon changed from the mouth-challenging Franciscopolis to Le Havre – "The Harbour". It became the principal trading post of France's northern coast, prospering especially during the American War of Independence and thereafter, importing cotton, sugar and tobacco. In the years before the outbreak of war in 1939, it was the European home of the great luxury liners like the Normandie, Île de France and France.
•St Joseph's Church was a key project designed by August Perret in the rebuilding of the city. Its tall tower is lined with coloured glass lending the interior a unique tranquility.
•Hotel de Ville (Town Hall) is situated on one of the largest squares in France. The interoir has information on the city. It is possible to climb the tower for view of the lay out of the city.
•Showflat, designed by city designer August Perret, is now open for public viewing.
•Malraux Museum, houses the largest Impressionist collection in France outside of Paris.
•Cultural Centre (the Volcano) designed by leading architect Oscar Neimeyer is located in the centre of town.
•Maison de l'Armateur (opposite the ferries) One of the few old houses which were not destroyed during World War II! A magnificent house of 5 floors, nicely decorated and furnished in the style of its construction (18th century), when it belonged to rich families. A very interesting visit especially if you also visit Auguste Perret's showflat in City Hall Square showing what was life was like in the 50's ... You will understand the complex history of the city.
•Museum d'histoire naturelle ... in an old building which miraculously survived the terrible bombings on September 5th, 1944. Interesting museum (free!) a lot of activities for children!
•Near it, Cathedrale Notre Dame. Visit it and walk around it. You'll get a striking contrast between the 15th century cathedral and the buildings constructed in the 50's and 60's around it. The foundations of the cathedral are lower than the other buildings because they were built on the ruins of the old town.
Most ferry passengers head straight out of the port of LE HAVRE as quickly as the traffic will allow to escape a city that guidebooks tend to dismiss as dismal, disastrous and gargantuan. While it's not the most picturesque or tranquil place in Normandy, however, it's not the soulless urban sprawl the warnings suggest, even if the port – the largest in France after Marseille – does take up half the Seine estuary, extending way beyond the town.