Le Havre to Shine in 2017 for 500th Anniversary

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This year will be the perfect one to pay a visit to the Norman town

Le Havre has (literally) been through the wars over its 500 years of existence but this year’s celebrations will be an excellent opportunity to witness at first hand the diversity and vibrancy of this historic town.

During the Second World War, Le Havre (literally meaning “the harbour”) was transformed from medieaval fairytale into a pile of rubble and then rebuilt in a bold thoroughly modern style that sought to prove that “concrete can be beautiful”.

Opinion has certainly been divided on that matter ever since but UNESCO designated it a World Archiectural Heritage Site 10 years ago (another reason to celebrate for the denizens of Le Havre). The promotional video below will give you an idea of how impressive that concrete can look.

As part of its 500th anniversary, Le Havre will be hosting a whole summer of events to celebrate. A key stop-off for sea and river cruises, UNESCO city Le Havre is a fantastic destination for architecture enthusiasts, art lovers and foodies. Festivities begin in earnest on the 27th of May and run to the 5th of November.

Here are some of the main events for your diary:

  • 27 May 2017: A Summer in Le Havre Opening Ceremony

Get ready for a street party on a massive scale, as the opening ceremony of A Summer in Le Havre 2017 will be organised by the Art Point M Collective, founders of the popular annual N.A.M.E electro music festival in Lille.

  • 6-9 July 2017: Royal de Luxe Street Parade

July sees the highly anticipated return of the iconic Nantes-based Royal de Luxe street theatre company and their giant puppets. Famous for their large-scale outdoor performances and their taste for the unorthodox, this free show will take place throughout the city, and is not to be missed.

  • 31 August – 3 September 2017: Final Stage of the Tall Ships Regatta

The Tall Ships Regatta 2017 will stop over in Le Havre for its final stage, bringing together 40 of the largest heritage ships in the world, and will boast free street parades, concerts and fireworks.

  • 9 September – 8 October 2017: Impression, Sunrise

Claude Monet’s masterpiece Impression, Sunrise returns to the city where it was painted in September, with an exhibition at the André Malraux Modern Art Museum (MuMa) centred on the painting that gave Impressionism its name.

  • 14-22 September 2017: Luxury transatlantic cruise to New York on board the Queen Mary 2

The newly remastered Queen Mary 2 is the epitome of a luxury ocean liner. The flagship of the Cunard fleet, which boasts the largest ballroom at sea, will set off from Le Havre in September on an eight-night crossing to New York.

  • 8 October 2017: A Summer in Le Havre Closing Ceremony

A huge public get-together and visual spectacle, the closing ceremony of A Summer in Le Havre 2017 will see a new digital installation unveiled as a permanent legacy of 2017’s anniversary celebrations.

  • 27 October-5 November 2017: Jacques Vabre Transatlantic Race

The celebrated longest double-handed transatlantic race in the world, known as the Transat Jacques Vabre, has always set sail from Le Havre, and this year it ends in Brazil. Boats will stop over at the port on 27 October before the grand send-off on 5 November.

For more information on A Summer in Le Havre 2017, visit: http://bit.ly/asummerinlehavre2017

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