Skip to main content

Le Havre (Paris), France

Originally built in 1517 on the orders of King Francois I, Le Havre, (the Harbor) grew to become France's second busiest port. Prior to World War II, Le Havre was home port to many of the day's great luxury liners, including the France, the Normandie and Ile de France. Virtually destroyed by bombing raids during the war, the present city is perhaps most notable for being the vision of a single architect, Auguste Perret, during its reconstruction between 1946 and 1964. Two buildings of particular note are the stark Hotel de Ville and the towering church of St. Joseph, with its 99-meter bell tower. The Musee des Beaux-Arts, near the port, features a room devoted to the works of native son Raoul Duffy in addition to a fine collection of 19th and 20th-century French artists.