Feeling Le Havre


As time continues to flow, change is inevitable. Cities can disappear if they cannot keep up with change like people. Despite the changes of the cities within time, it is still possible to discover them in forms reflected in the artworks. Le Havre, the second largest port city in France has a really different appearance from its vision in Monet’s ‘Impression’ table now.  But, it is still a living city having new shapes and experiences as the time passes.

Le Havre is a harbor city built in the place where Seine River meets with the English Channel. Le Havre means cranny in French. And, it has been the cranny of many people within time. It is not a natural harbor. It was built exactly 500 years ago, in 1517, during the period of King François I. The city was destroyed in the Second World War and was rebuilt with usage of huge amounts of concrete and steel. Because of its building style it does not look like the architectural texture of other French cities. It looks like the capitals of old socialist countries with its wide streets, tram stops, and vast parks streets crossing each other vertically rather than art-smelling cities of France. Le Havre, the second biggest port of France after Marseille, has been still living in the 1950s. Since it reflects the modern architectural feature of that period, it has been taken under protection by UNESCO.

The buildings in Le Havre were mostly designed by the famous architect Auguste Perret. The ones, who favor the coolness of the communist structures, like Le Havre. On the other hand, for others who admire Renaissance art and architecture, this old city is just a block of steel and concrete.

Le Havre has a very large beach, covered with huge pebbles. At this long beach, you can breathe clean air and walk to the sea lighthouse which stands the edge of the breakwater.

St. Joseph Church is one of the icons of the city. This old church was built in the form of a gigantic sea lantern. The old warehouse has been repaired and transformed into shopping centers which seem friendly.  Another characteristic of this city is that the impressionist movement, which is regarded as one of the most important turning points of art history, was born here.

Preparing to celebrate the 500th anniversary of its foundation, Le Havre is worth a visit even to see the Modern Art Museum, where masterpieces of the Impressionist movement are exhibited. You can also see the retrospective display of Monet‘s master Eugene Boudin in Le Havle. The rising sun on the harbor as it found life in the ‘Impression’ painting of Monet is worth to see this 500 year old young city.

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