24 hours in Le Havre

Only have a limited amount of time to spend in and around Le Havre? Here are our top things that you shouldn't miss while in the area.

Le Havre is a UNESCO protected heritage site after its reconstruction by Auguste Perret, the concrete poet, following the devastation of the city during WW2. One of Europe's busiest ports, Le Havre is today a bustling multicultural city. 

There are also some wonderful towns and attractions around Le Havre to visit including the cliffs of Etretat that inspired the Impressionists and the pretty fishing town of Honfleur.

For those interested in the history of WW2 and the reconstruction of French cities left devastated in its wake, and also those interested in the Impressionists and the beautiful coastal towns that inspired them, Le Havre is a great place to start exploring.

Getting there: With year-round daily sailings from Portsmouth to Le Havre, Le Havre is an ideal day trip destination.

Book a day trip to Le Havre

What can I do in a day?

Visit historic landmarks from post-WW2 and walk in the footsteps of the Impressionists...

Here's an example itinerary of what you could do with your day in Le Havre...

08:00 Arrive in Le Havre and head to one of its cafés or bakeries for a delicious French breakfast.

12:00 Take lunch at one of the many restaurants on the quayside. You're sure to find plenty of locally-caught shellfish on the menu.

09:00 Visit the Appartment Témoin Perret and discover what it was like to live in one of these new apartments, built after the destruction of WW2, in the 1950s. The apartment looks just as it would have then.

14:00 Drive back to Le Havre, stopping off at a supermarket along the way if you want to stock up on French goodies.

10:00 Head round the corner to see Perret's most iconic work, the Eglise St Joseph. It became a UNESCO heritage site less than 10 years after it was built. Take your time in here to admire the beauty of the stained glass in the wonderful, octagonal lantern tower.

15:30 Visit MuMa, the modern art museum, and see the biggest collection of Impressionist art outside Paris. You may find yourself recognising some of the landscapes you see from your visits this morning.

10:30 Drive to Honfleur, a favourite town of the Impressionists, 30 mins south.

17:30 The Docks Vauban shopping mall is perfect for a little retail therapy before dinner with big name brands including Zara, Mango and Yves Rocher.

11:00 Enjoy a wander around Honfleur's picturesque streets and harbourside with its tall, multi-coloured buildings.

19:00 Settle in with a decadent evening meal at a restaurant in the downtown area. Several of Le Havre's best restaurants can be found in the area around the docks, not far from the port, so you can have a leisurely meal knowing the ship is close by!

Things to do in and around Le Havre

The unmissable sights and attractions in Le Havre.

An arts museum with a great collection of Impressionist paintings, the Muma (Musée d'Art Modern André Malraux) was the first major museum to built in France after WW2, when the original building was destroyed.

A striking white building that appears to emerge almost naturally from the ground, Le Volcan is home to a theatre and cinema which is mostly underground.

These magnificent cliffs are one of Normandy's most popular tourist spots. Carved out of the beautiful white limestone are 3 arches - Porte Aval, Porte Amont and Manneport with the needle of rock just off the Porte Aval made...

Further afield

Head out to more great places to visit nearby.

Etretat in Normandy is a charming town famous for the stunning cliffs of Etretat on the Alabaster Coast.

Honfleur is a charming seaside town immediately recognisable by its tall narrow buildings - which look as though they've been squeezed into the streets!

Deauville in Normandy is a glamorous town on the Côte Fleurie ('flowery coast'), famous for horse racing and its international cultural festivals.