If you want to get the most out of Le Havre you have to come ready to experience somewhere that differs from a normal, picturesque French city.
Le Havre looked to the future and hired the modernist Auguste Perret, a mentor of Le Corbusier, to rebuild the centre following the destruction of the Second World War.
His efforts have now been rewarded with UNESCO status, and you don’t have to be into modern architecture to love the clean lines and boldness of the city’s public spaces and monuments.
The port is the busiest in France and will excite those interested by trade and commerce from the 16th to the 21st century.
Lets explore the best things to do in Le Havre:
1. St. Joseph’s Church
Auguste Perret’s incredible church is modern architecture at its most powerful.
With a neo-gothic temple he showed what reinforced concrete could achieve by devising a self-supporting tower 107 metres tall.
So when you stand in the choir there’s nothing above you but a hollow tube with bare concrete illuminated by sunlight filtered through stained glass.
Such is the church’s presence that you can see it from almost anywhere in Le Havre and it stands as a beacon for sea traffic at night.
There’s much more going on here than meets your first glance, as the church is informed by abstraction and the reforms of the Second Vatican Council.
Everything you see has meaning but you may need some hints to decode it.