Le Harve
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Le Harve France City Facts

My attachment to this city starts in 1908 when my Italian Grandfather set out from here to come to America. How he ever made his way from Italy to Le Harve is beyond me. I know here were railroads. But how did he get a ticket. One possibility is that he was given a ticket my the mining company in Iowa where he went to work. They might have recruited him.

Me, I have visited this city several times. It is also the port city which receives boat passengers who have come to the continent from Ireland. Go figure.





Upper Normandy Town Information

Le Havre
On the right bank of the Seine River Estuary, facing the English Channel coast, is the seaport of Le Havre.  It is one of France’s largest seaports, second only to Marseille.  It is located in the Département of Seine-Maritime, some 42 miles west of Rouen, 134 miles west-northwest of Paris, 25 miles north of Évreux and 42 miles northwest of Caen.  It is at the intersection of Route National 15, D489 and D940, just west of Autoroute A29.

Le Havre was long a fishing village.  In 1517, François I, of France, had a port built here after the nearby harbor at Honfleur, to the northeast, silted up.  During the Religious Wars, in 1562, French Huguenots turned control of the town over to the English.  The English were driven out of Le Havre in 1563.

In the 17th century, Cardinal Richelieu, Louis XIII’s chief minister, began the port’s modernization.  Napoléon I continued the modernization in the 19th century.

Le Havre’s points of interest include the 16th through 17th century Church of Notre-Dame de Bonsecours and the modern Church of Saint-Joseph to its east. The all glass and metal André Malraux Museum of Fine Arts is located to the south of the Église Saint-Joseph.   

Over the course of the Great War [1914-1918], Le Havre was a supply and disembarkation base for the British and American expeditionary forces.  The city was occupied by the Germans from 1940 to 1944 and suffered greatly from 170 Allied bombings. 

After the war, both the city and the port were rebuilt and the port facilities were greatly expanded.  A recent addition to the area is the Pont de Normandie bridge linking Le Havre with Honfleur.  It is one of the world’s longest suspension bridges.

The harbor at Le Havre, with its extensive facilities, is well suited to transatlantic and transchannel shipping.  It is an import port for cotton and tropical goods.  The port handles much of France’s imported crude petroleum. There is regular train and car ferry service between the port and England and Ireland.   

The city is a commercial and a manufacturing center.  Its products include automobiles, chemicals, electrical goods, processed food, machinery, petrochemicals, rope, ships, sugar, textiles and processed timber.


      Map of France showing the Region of Upper Normandy

An Introduction to the Regions of Upper Normandy and Lower Normandy [Haute- Normandie] - [Basse-Normandie]
Lower Normandy Departments of Calvados [14], Manche [15] & Orne [61]  Upper Normandy Departments of Eure [27] and Seine-Maritime [76]

The Introduction to the Regions of Upper & Lower Normandy

Formerly a French province, Normandy [Normandie], with its old capital at Rouen, is now divided into two regions bordering on the English Channel: Upper Normandy [Haute-Normandie] and Lower Normandy [Basse-Normandie].  During the Roman period, the region formed part of Gallia Lugdunensis (Celtic Gaul).  With the Frankish invasions it was made a constituent part of the kingdom of Neustria.

Ten centuries have passed since the Vikings invaded the province of Normandy.  The early Scandinavians might have come to ravish the land, but they stayed to cultivate itIt came to be known as Normandy about 911, when Charles III, king of France, turned it over to Rollo, the leader of a menacing band of Viking raiders.

The Normans produced great soldiers, none more famous than William the Conqueror, who defeated the forces of King Harold at Battle Abbey in 1066.  In 1066,William II, duke of Normandy [a descendant of Rollo], led an invasion of England and established himself there as William I, king of England. Thereafter, Normandy remained an English possession until conquered in 1204 by Philip II Augustus, king of France.  During the Hundred Years’ War, the region was held at various times by both French and English forces; it was finally recovered by the French in 1450.  The Channel Islands, which were once a part of Normandy, remained in the possession of England.  The English and the French continued to do battle, on and off, for 700 years, from 1066 to the decisive Battle of Waterloo in 1815.

From Wellington’s defeat of Napoleon, Normandy remained at peace until June 6, 1944 when it was ravaged in the 1944 invasion that began early in the morning when airborne troops parachuted down into Ste-Mère-Eglise and Bénouville-sur-Orne.  The largest armada ever assembled was responsible for the beginning of the reconquest of continental Europe from the Nazis.  Today many come to Normandy just to see the D-Day beachheads.

Much of this province is reminiscent of a great landscape painting, with cattle grazing sleepily in verdant fields.  But the rustic wood-framed houses are contrasted alongside the nearby modern buildings.  Not far from the Seine, a mere hour drive from Paris, is Giverny where Monet painted his water lilies.  Here and there you can still find stained-glass windows and Gothic architecture miraculously spared the bombardments; however, many great buildings were leveled.  And Normandy’s wide beaches may attract families, but in August the Deauville sands draw the choicest of the chic from Europe and North America.

Normandy is the land of Calvados brandy and apple cider [bon bere].  It is well known for its rich butter, cream and other dairy products.  The region is world renowned for its culinary tour de force: sauce Normande, tripe a la mode de Caen, sole Dieppe, canard a la Rouen, and soufflé like omelets from le Mont-St-Michel. Poule d’Auge, poule de Bresse, andouillet (tripe sausage) de Vire, moules d’ Isigny, hueters de Courseulles, fuite de mer d’Honfleur, and the highly prized lamb (pré salé) that is raised on the salt meadows of Normandy.

Supple Camembert, which is made from cow’s milk, has been sold in a wooden box since 1880 and is well known.  Lesser known cheeses of the area, are equally tasty.  These include Pont-L’Evêque and Brillat-Savanin.  The latter with a high fat content of 75%, was invented in the 1930s by the cheese merchant Henri Androuët.  His family established the once famous restaurant Androuët, on rue d’Amsterdam, in Paris, which specialized in sauces made from cheese.

Normans consume cider at nearly every meal.  Bon bère is the term for true cider, and sometimes it’s so strong that it must be diluted with water.  It takes 12 to 15 years to bring Calvados to taste perfection (in America Calvados may be called apple jack).

Many a Norman finishes a meal with black coffee and a glass of this strong drink, which is also used to flavor main courses.

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The Region  of Haute-Normandie [Upper Normandy]

The Location of Upper Normandy
The region of Upper-Normandy encompasses the départements of Eure [27] and Seine-Maritime  [76] which constituted the northeastern part of the province of Normandy. Its capital is Rouen.  The region is bounded by the Départements of Calvados and Orne to the west, Eure-et-Loir to the south, and Yvelines, Val-d’Oise, Oise, and Somme to the east.  The English Channel lies to the northwest.  Haute-Normandie is mostly lowland belonging to the Paris Basin and is drained by the Seine River.

The History of Upper Normandy
The History.

The Geography of Upper Normandy

The Culture of Upper Normandy
Haute-Normandie’s climate is wet.  It is densely populated, but the population declined slightly between 1851 and 1946, as in much of rural France during that period.  Immigration, and a relatively high birth rate, have accounted for an increase since World War II.  This recovery has favored Seine-Maritime, whose population is heavily concentrated in Le Havre, Rouen, and smaller urban centers along the Seine River.

The Gastronomy of Upper Normandy
The Gastronomy.

The Economy of Upper Normandy
Dieppe is an important fishing port.  Le Havre, Rouen, and other areas along the Seine River are highly industrialized.  Petroleum refineries outside Le Havre and between Le Havre and Rouen have established Seine-Maritime as a major petrochemical center.  Renault automobiles are manufactured in Cléon, outside Elbeuf, and near Le Havre in Sandouville.  Eure has benefited from its proximity to Paris, and its industries have expanded rapidly since 1950.  Many Parisians own houses in the countryside of Eure.

The D
épartement of Eure still has a large rural population. Animal husbandry dominates agriculture, and the region is a leading producer of milk and beef.

Details about ferries. SOURCE


Portsmouth is a flat city, ideal for walking and cycling. There is an excellent bus network across the city and beyond. Portsmouth has so much history and an abundance of things to see and do that an overnight stay or a weekend would be a great start or a memorable end to your holiday.

From adventure parks, to aquarium, castles, forts, cathedrals, county parks, gardens, historical docks & ships, museums, the seaside or just shopping Portsmouth offers it all and much more besides.

Le Havre

Leave Portsmouth on the night sailing and get up and go to breakfast with Donald & Mickey! The wonderful and exciting world of Eurodisney is just 2 hours drive away from Le Harve. The new Walt Disney Studio Park located next to Eurodisney is not to be missed. Visitors can discover new and old techniques in movie making and experience live stunt shows.

Le Harve founded in 1517 by King Francois I has grown and is now the 2nd largest port in France. Le Havre is also the closest port to Paris at just over 200 kms and is the mouth of the river Seine. Le Harve itself is a nice place to visit but you should consider heading to Honfleur as your first stop. This relaxing traditional picturesque fishing village is just minutes away and well worth the visit.

Just 55 miles south of Le Harve is Rouen, the capital of Normandy. The town has some superb museums and churches to visit. On a Sunday there is the chance to catch a bargain at the flea market and the opportunity to soak up the ambience of Normandy.

Ferry Providers

The following ferry companies provide ferries from Portsmouth to Le Havre: P and O Portsmouth. Click here to go to the booking engine and compare prices for the best offers.

Ferry Routes

Here are some other ferry routes you might be interested in:
Portsmouth to Caen
Newhaven to Dieppe


See also our overview of France as well as a list of all ferry routes, providers and ports in our Ferries to France page.




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