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Useful information for shore excursions in and around Le Havre
Below you will find information about the cruise port, some of the most beautiful sights and useful tips for a shore excursion in and around Le Havre.
The most beautiful sights in Le Havre
Le Havre is a city located in the northwest of France on the English Channel, bordering the right bank of the Seine estuary. Situated in beautiful Normandy, it is the largest city in the region in terms of population. The city, which was founded in 1517 by King Francis I, was to establish itself as a major harbour city. Today, the city is not only an important commercial centre but also serves as a location for the oil, cement, cotton, chemical and shipbuilding industries. Paris, 200 kilometres from Le Havre, can be reached within a few hours. In general, the city is an excellent starting point for exciting excursions to Normandy. But also Le Havre itself has some interesting sights to offer.
The city centre of Le Havre
The main attraction of Le Havre is the rebuilt town centre. The city centre was largely destroyed during the Second World War. In the years after the war, it was rebuilt according to the plans of Auguste Perret. Concrete became the main element of the reconstruction. Auguste Perret saw in this material a building material of the future and developed his principle of the ‘order of reinforced concrete’. He built long road axes, wide boulevards and beautiful parks. Well-structured skyscrapers characterise the centre. It was the only city ensemble of the 20th century in Europe to be declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in July 2005.
The Church of St. Joseph is considered a masterpiece of Perret. It has a 107-metre-high concrete tower and is also the memorial to the victims of the liberation of France in 1944.
Perret also designed the town hall, also known as the “Hotel de Ville”. It is located on the largest town hall square in Europe. The town hall belongs to the extraordinary buildings of the reconstruction and has a 72 m high tower with 18 floors, as well as a 92 m long middle building. The Cathédrale Notre-Dame is also located in the city centre. A view into the interior is highly recommended, as one can see the play of lights of the colourful ornamental windows there.
André Malraux Museum of Modern Art
Le Havre is associated with various artists, including Dubuffet, Dufy and Monet. In addition to these artists, this museum (MuMa for short) contains paintings from the late 19th and 20th centuries as well as a wide collection of Impressionists. In addition to the permanent, regularly temporary exhibitions, there are also other exhibitions. The building has wide windows facing the sea.
Within 30 minutes you reach the 8000-Seelendorf Honfleur. On the way, you cross the Pont de Normandie, a suspension bridge connecting Le Havre with Honfleur. The bridge has a span of 856 metres and is, therefore, the largest in Europe.
The town has an enchanting charm and was originally a small fishing village. Over time, the former fishing village with its narrow houses, charming alleys, picturesque timber-framed houses and the remains of the 17th-century fortifications has developed into one of the most charming places in Normandy. The picturesque harbour itself, with its colours and fishing boats, is an absolute tourist attraction. Honfleur is also home to impressive buildings such as the oldest wooden church in France, Sainte Catherine. You can also visit the art museum of the famous painter Eugene Boudin, who was born in Honfleur.
Due to its proximity to Paris, some cruise passengers take the opportunity to travel to the capital. The city is known for its fashion, art and culture, and its impressive sights make it an attractive place to visit. Due to the approx. 2.5 to 3-hour drive per route (approx. 200 km), the stay in Paris is indeed limited, but a short visit is nevertheless worthwhile.
Visit the most important sights like the Eiffel Tower, the Champs-Élysées, the Arc de Triomphe, the Cathedral Notre Dame de Paris, the Basilica Sacré-Coeur, the Centre Georges-Pompidou as well as the Musee d’Orsay or the Louvre.
Monastery mountain Mont-Saint-Michel
Mont-Saint-Michel is a monastery island located in the bay of the same name in the Wadden Sea, about 200 kilometres from Le Havre. The bay is the scene of Europe’s strongest tides, which regularly turn the monastery mountain back into an island. Mont-Saint-Michel is famous for its Mont-Saint-Michel Abbey, which is located on the mountain. Since 1979 the bay and the mountain have been UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The mountain is visited not only annually by tourists, but also by countless pilgrims who are on the Way of St James. The abbey is characterised by a Norman architectural style and offers a viewing platform with a panoramic view over the bay of Normandy. The village is characterised by medieval architecture with narrow, steep streets and stone houses.
Étretat & the Chalk Cliffs
Étretat is a French municipality in the Normandy region, 25 kilometres from Le Havre. Étretat lies on the English Channel and is famous for its steep cliffs. These unique chalk rock formations belong to one of the most impressive places in Normandy. These include the three rocks, Falaise d’Armont, Manneporte and Porte d’Aval. The highest point of these is 90 metres. Many artists travelled the coast in the 19th century and were inspired by the bright light and the magnificent rock formations. A rock front is reminiscent of an elephant dipping its trunk into the sea. You can not only walk on the rocks and enjoy the unique view but also take a walk on the surrounding beach. This Norman-style town has many souvenir shops and restaurants. You can also visit the beautiful garden of Les Jardins d’Étretat, made up of sculptures.
D-Day Landing Beaches
On 6 June 1944 the allied troops of Americans, British and Canadians landed on the beaches of Normandy. 175,000 soldiers fought on the French coast against the German Wehrmacht. The code name for the Operation Overlord and to liberate Europe by National Socialism was D-Day. In five coastal sections, Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword, the Allies moored in about 2727 ships and fought the bloody battles.
Omaha Beach is the most famous coastal section. Today, you can visit the Liberation Memorials on the beach and in its vicinity. Not far from Omaha Beach you can visit the Overlord Museum, which has personal belongings of individual soldiers and armoured vehicles. At the Normandy American Cemetery, you can see the walls of the missing and the exhibition in the visitor centre. At the Pointe du Hoc you will find old bomb craters and underground bunkers as well as an important monument.
Map of the cruise port in Le Havre
The port of Le Havre is the second-largest in France. Situated at a major estuary, the port is the gateway between the North Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. As Le Havre is a deep water port, the ships can call at any time of year without any problems. Due to its advantageous location, the port is ideally suited for intercontinental trade and is approached by some merchant ships. Not only merchant ships, but also the largest passenger ships dock at the Pointe de Floride at the harbour. The cruise berths of Quai Pierre Callet and Quai Roger Meunier are opposite each other. The Pointe de Floride offers a terminal building with good service and has, among other things, a multilingual information point, check-in counter, luggage storage and vehicle rental.
The distance from the cruise terminal to the city centre is 2.5 km. You can reach the city centre in about 25 minutes on foot. Alternatively, you can take a taxi for 8 euros or, if your cruise ship offers this, take a paid shuttle bus. These will take you close to the town hall and to the Vauban Shopping Centre docks. Small sightseeing trains also depart from the harbour.
in Le HavreWhat you should know before your excursion
Shipping companies and routes
Le Havre is a port of destination especially on the North Sea or metropolitan routes. The latter especially because of the proximity and accessibility of Paris. An example of such a metropolitan route with AIDAprima is Hamburg, Southampton (London), Le Havre (Paris), Zeebrügge (Brussels), Rotterdam (Amsterdam) and back to Hamburg.
In addition to AIDA Cruises, Le Havre is served by Royal Caribbean, Disney Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises, TUI Cruises and P&O Cruises.
Entry and visa
UK, Canadian and US citizens do not require a visa to enter the Schengen area of countries in Europe for tourism business stays under ninety (90) days.
Please make sure, to bring a valid passport with you, which extends at least 90 days after your initial arrival in the Schengen area.
In France, the Euro is used as currency, so a currency exchange is therefore required. (1 dollar = 0.86 euro and 1 pound = 1.11 euro)
Taxi and public transport
In Le Havre, you have the possibility to use public transport. In 2012, the tram was put into operation. Both lines start at Porte Oceane beach and go either northwest to Mont Gaillard and Grand Hameau or east to Cacriauville Pré-Fleuri. The total length of the network is 13 kilometres. The tram runs every three minutes.
There is also a 343-metre funicular between Place Thiers in the city centre and Rue Félix Faure. It is operated by CTPO and runs every six to ten minutes.
The bus network in Le Havre is also well developed. Various bus companies operate from the Gare Routiere bus station, which is next to the main station. Taxis can also be used as an alternative.
Trips to Paris are best organised. Shore excursions to Paris on your own are not worthwhile due to the great distance to the port. The outward journey already lasts 2 to 3 hours, which is why the stay time in France’s capital is limited. Since you must be back in Le Havre before the cruise ship departs, organised tours will help you get back on time.
The temperate climate in Le Havre means mild summer months and rainy winters. In August the average temperature is 16.8 degrees. The average annual temperature is between 10 and 12 degrees. Therefore, the summer months from June to September are best suited for a holiday in Le Havre.
The high season for cruise ships is from April to October. Some ships call at Le Havre all year round.
Website Port Authority and Tourism Organization
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