Le Havre

Normandy, France

Located in the Seine-Maritime department in the Normandy region of northwestern France, Le Havre offers a unique blend of history, culture and beautiful scenery. Read more about all the ferry crossings to/from Le Havre on Ferryhopper, discover what to do and see during your stay there, and learn how to plan your ferry trip in France!

Contemporary buildings lining the marina of Le Havre, France

View to the city of Le Havre with the majestic St-Joseph church standing out

Holidays in Le Havre

A Unesco-listed city since 2005, Le Havre offers a lot more than meets the eye - it is surrounded by beautiful beaches, boasts lively bars and restaurants, and a thriving arts scene.

When arriving in Le Havre, most people drive directly from the ferry dock to their vacation destination in France. However, the city is a surprisingly exciting destination for families and couples alike. Ideal for a weekend break, Le Havre will give you the opportunity to visit one of the most important museums with impressionist art in France and admire its contemporary architecture. In addition, Le Havre is a great getaway for the beach lover and those who want to visit the Alabaster Coast.

How to get to Le Havre

You can travel to Le Havre by car, train, plane or ferry. If you wish to travel by car, from Paris it’s a 2 hour drive on the freeway (A13). If you prefer getting to the city by train, direct trains from Paris leave St. Lazare station and arrive in Le Havre in just 2 hours and 15 minutes. The Le Havre train station is 20 minutes from the city center by foot or easily connected via the tram.

Traveling by plane is also a good option. The main airport serving the city is Le Havre - Octeville Airport, which is located 5 km northwest of Le Havre. Alternatively, you can reach Le Havre by ferry from the UK. Find more information about ferry routes and schedules to Le Havre below.

What to do in Le Havre

From its beach, art and shopping, Le Havre has a lot to offer to keep your calendar full. However, the city's unusual concrete architecture is perhaps the biggest draw. Take a leisurely stroll through the city and admire its incredible buildings and monuments. To fully appreciate Le Havre’s history and architecture, make sure to visit the city’s most important landmarks, such as the Town Hall, St. Joseph's Church and the Volcan Cultural Center.

If you love the sea, Le Havre’s 2 km long beach offers opportunities for fishing, snorkeling, rowing, and windsurfing. There’s also a big wheel skate park (France’s largest outdoor skatepark) situated right on the beach! Walk along the Bassin De Commerce, the harbor front, the marina, and the beach promenade, featuring little shops, restaurants, water gardens, and playgrounds. Sample some of the freshest catches of the day and wash it all down with a glass of local white wine. 

Alternatively, we recommend exploring one or even several of the city’s 96 green spaces and parks, which make it one of the greenest cities in France. Highlights include the Japanese Garden and the Hanging Garden with its fabulous sea views. 

If you have the time, consider driving 40 minutes from Le Havre to Étretat to view the white cliffs of the Alabaster coast. This small seaside town offers some of the most breathtaking views in northern France.

People and a dog exploring the beach of Le Havre during sunset

People enjoying a walk on the beach in Le Havre

Sightseeing in Le Havre

Heavily bombed during World War II, Le Havre lost most of its iconic buildings and was completely rebuilt in the years that followed. Thus, it differs quite a bit from a typical French city. In fact, the city’s post-war reconstruction was so impressive that it resulted in it becoming a Unesco World Heritage Site in 2005

Some of the top things to see in Le Havre are:

  • The MuMa (Musée d'Art Moderne André Malraux), housing the largest collection of impressionist paintings in France outside Paris
  • St-Joseph’s church, the landmark of the city with 13,000 panels of colored glass
  • Jardins Suspendus (Hanging Gardens), an old Napoleonic fort transformed into a beautiful set of gardens with panoramic views over the city
  • Le Volcan, the city’s premier Volcano shaped cultural venue
  • The Cathédrale Notre-Dame, the oldest building in the center of town dating back to the early 16th century
  • The Auguste Perret show flat, a show apartment from the 1950s
  • The shipowner’s mansion, an elegant house built in 1790 that faces the harbor

Panels of colored glass inside St-Joseph’s church in Le Havre

The impressive interior of St-Joseph’s church in Le Havre

Nightlife in Le Havre

Le Havre has developed into a vibrant city with hip neighborhoods and places to visit. From the historic downtown area to the trendy waterfront district, the city boasts a mix of chic bars, nightclubs and pubs.

The waterfront area is especially popular. In the summer, visitors can enjoy a nice meal with friends or a drink while watching the sunset at one of the many bars, clubs and restaurants that are set up along the beach. The Saint-François district is also very busy in the evening. Night owls looking to party til the morning should head to the former docklands area, where many new nightclubs have opened in the past few years.

If you’re in the mood for something a bit different, during your holidays in Le Havre in the high season you can take part in some of the city’s cultural events, including live music and theater performances. Le Havre is home to a variety of festivals, such as the World Music Festival and the International Jazz Festival.

Food in Le Havre

If you’d like to try some of the most traditional dishes of Normandy, Le Havre, which has emerged as a foodie city, is the place to be. Being a coastal town, Le Havre is a seafood lover’s paradise. Normandy is also the apple region of France, so it’s very likely that you’re going to taste at least one desert that includes the region's famous apples in one form or another.

Some local dishes and delicacies that you should try during your trip to Le Havre are:

  • endives au jambon (baked endives and ham)
  • marmite dieppoise (traditional French fish stew)
  • fresh oysters
  • andouille de Vire (sausage)
  • passe crassane (a French pear variety originating from Rouen)
  • bénédictine (French herbal liqueur) 
  • tarte normande (apple tart)
  • bourdelot (local dessert containing apples baked in dough) 

Tip: for food shopping in Le Havre visit Les Halles, a bustling covered market open daily, or the street-market surrounding the market hall on Sunday morning. Here, you’ll find a delicious selection of cheese, chocolates, as well as specialities like the Coeur de Neufchâtel heart shaped cheeses.

Endives au jambon served in a plate along with cherry tomatoes and basil

The delicious endives au jambon dish, popular in Le Havre

Useful information about Le Havre

In Le Havre, you can find everything you might need for a pleasant, smooth holiday trip. Regarding accommodation, if you want to be close to most major attractions, look for options around the city center. On the other hand, if you just have a short amount of time to explore the city, a hotel or apartment close to the railway station or the port would be more convenient. 

As for health care, there are several hospitals as well as medical centers in Le Havre and the surrounding area.

Important phone numbers for your stay in Le Havre

Here are some useful contacts for your trip to Le Havre:

  • Le Havre Port Authority: +33279180500
  • Le Havre Police Station: +33232743700
  • General Hospital: +33232733920
  • Tourist Information Center: +33232740404
  • European emergency number: 112

Transportation in Le Havre

Le Havre is a very pedestrian city - the train station and ferry dock can be reached on foot from the historic city center, while it takes around 30 minutes to go to the beach. The French city boasts an efficient transport network as well. With 2 tram routes, 17 bus routes, a funicular, and 135 km of cycle paths, it is easy to get from the city center to various points of interest.

If you’d rather get around the city by car, keep in mind that parking in the downtown area is not free. However, it is free along the beach.

Tip: if you plan to stay in Le Havre for a few days, purchase the LiA Pass for unlimited access to buses, trams, the funicular, and LER trains.

Ports in Le Havre

Le Havre port, also known as Haropa port, is the second-largest commercial port in France and the closest one to Paris. It serves as a door to the most frequented seas (The English Channel and the North Sea) and connects Le Havre to the Seine through a network of canal-like docks, including the Canal de Tancarville and the Grand Canal du Havre.

It is located at Terminal de la Citadelle, about a 25-minute walk to the city center. Alternatively, the closest train station is just a few minutes away by foot. There is also a free shuttle bus from the port to the station. In addition, there are bus stops near the entrance of the port that go to the town center.

The large port of Le Havre seen from above

Aerial view of the port and city of Le Havre

Le Havre ferry: schedules and tickets

The port of Le Havre can be reached by ferry from Portsmouth, England and Rosslare, Ireland. The main company that operates these ferry connections is Brittany Ferries.

Here you can find more information on the ferry connections to Le Havre:

  • Portsmouth-Le Havre ferry: the ferry connection between Portsmouth and Le Havre is normally available 5 times a week from March to November. The crossing takes about 8 hours.
  • Rosslare-Le Havre ferry: there is 1 weekly ferry connection between Rosslare and Le Havre and the journey lasts around 20.5 hours.

The city of Le Havre during sunset

Breathtaking panoramic view of Le Havre during sunset

Where to book ferry tickets to Le Havre online

At the moment, it’s not possible to book ferry tickets to Le Havre on Ferryhopper. As we focus on including more routes, check out our interactive Map of ferries, browse all available ferry schedules in France and book ferry tickets for your next trip!

Le Havre ferry timetable

View the complete ferry schedule from and to Le Havre for the upcoming week. Find up-to-date trip information, including departure and arrival dates and times, ferry operators and ticket prices.

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