Le Havre is a city in Normandy, northern France, at the mouth of the Seine. The city was founded in 1517, when it was named Franciscopolis after Francis I of France, and subsequently named Le Havre-de-Grâce. Le Havre simply means the harbour or the port. Its construction was ordered to replace the ancient harbours of Honfleur and Harfleur whose utility had decreased due to silting. The history of the city is inextricably linked to its harbour. In the 18th century, as trade from the West Indies was added to that of France and Europe, it began to grow. During the 19th century, it became an industrial center.
In september 1944, 80% of the city centre was destroyed and the port was made completely inoperative. Twenty years will then be necessary for the revival of Le Havre. The longer town has today the largest post?war homogeneous reconstruction site covering 150 hectares. The original concrete architecture created by Auguste Perret with its anciens type columns and its treilises of oriental inspiration opens Le Havre up on to the sea. The light from the Le Havre sky which was so appreciated by the impressionists give a great feeling of space. Le Havre is a city, a site to be discovered!
The ferry port has been rebuilt into a lively, bustling town that is France's largest foreign trade port, and the fifth biggest European port. It's not only a large commercial port or an industrial centre; the city also has a yachting harbour and a beach that has been awarded the Pavillon bleu label.
In July 2005, the UNESCO listed the centre of Le Havre rebuilt by Auguste Perret on the WORLD HERITAGE. A major 20th century architect, a true " poet of concrete ", original and innovative, Perret managed to draw inspiration both from classical tradition and from a strong modernisation will to reexplore, on 133 hectares, a unique city where the architecture is understandable, light, harmonious and truly innovative. The city centre of Le Havre has become the first 20 th century urban centre in Europe to receive this prestigious international distinction.