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Le Havre Cruise Port Guide, France


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Halimeda Flores



Welcome to Le Havre, a vibrant and historic city located on the coast of France. As one of the country’s major cruise ports, Le Havre welcomes thousands of visitors each year who come to explore its rich history, stunning architecture, and picturesque landscapes. With its convenient location near popular tourist destinations like Paris and the beautiful region of Normandy, Le Havre serves as the gateway to an unforgettable journey through France.


Le Havre has a fascinating past that dates back centuries. Originally a small fishing village, it quickly grew into a thriving port during the 16th century, attracting merchants and traders from around the world. However, the city faced significant destruction during World War II, leading to its rebuilding with innovative urban planning and modern architecture under the guidance of renowned architect Auguste Perret. Today, Le Havre is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site for its unique blend of history, culture, and design.


The port facilities in Le Havre are state-of-the-art, offering an efficient and seamless experience for cruise passengers. The cruise terminal is equipped with modern amenities, ensuring a comfortable and enjoyable visit for travelers. From here, you can easily explore the city and its surroundings, immersing yourself in the local culture and discovering the many attractions and landmarks that Le Havre has to offer.


Whether you choose to explore the city on your own or join one of the organized excursions, you are in for a treat. Le Havre boasts a myriad of attractions that cater to all interests. From iconic landmarks like the Saint-Joseph Church to the fascinating Musée d’Art Moderne André Malraux, there is something for everyone to enjoy. The city is also surrounded by stunning natural beauty, including the picturesque Etretat cliffs and the charming seaside towns of Honfleur and Deauville.


Le Havre is not only a city of history and culture but also a haven for shopaholics and food enthusiasts. The city center is lined with an array of boutiques, shops, and markets where you can find unique souvenirs and local products. When it comes to dining, Le Havre offers a diverse culinary scene, from traditional French bistros to international cuisine. Make sure to indulge in some mouthwatering French delicacies and sample the famous Normandy cider during your visit.


Getting around in Le Havre is easy and convenient. The city has an efficient public transportation system, including buses and trams, that can take you to various attractions and landmarks. If you prefer exploring on foot, the city’s compact layout makes it a pedestrian-friendly destination. Additionally, Le Havre serves as a gateway to other popular destinations in the region, with easy access to Paris and the enchanting region of Normandy.


Whether you are a history buff, a nature lover, or a culture enthusiast, Le Havre has something for everyone. It is a destination that combines the old and the new, offering a captivating blend of history, art, and breathtaking landscapes. So, come aboard and embark on a journey to Le Havre, where adventure awaits at every corner.


History of Le Havre

Le Havre has a rich and intriguing history that spans centuries. What began as a small fishing village in the 11th century soon transformed into a bustling port town, attracting merchants and traders from far and wide.


The port of Le Havre gained prominence during the 16th century when France sought to develop its maritime commerce. King Francis I recognized the strategic location of Le Havre on the estuary of the Seine River, providing access to the English Channel and the Atlantic Ocean. Under his reign, the city began to flourish, attracting merchants and shipbuilders from across Europe.


However, the city faced a devastating blow during World War II. In 1944, Le Havre endured heavy bombing raids, resulting in almost complete destruction. The city was left in ruins, with buildings reduced to rubble and infrastructure in shambles.


Following the war, Le Havre underwent a remarkable transformation. Renowned architect Auguste Perret was entrusted with the task of rebuilding the city. His vision was to create a modern, functional, and harmonious urban landscape.


Perret’s plan revolved around the concept of “unite d’habitation,” which aimed to provide affordable and comfortable living spaces. He incorporated innovative techniques, such as using reinforced concrete, to reconstruct the city. The result was an architectural masterpiece that showcased the beauty of concrete structures.


In recognition of its exceptional urban design, Le Havre was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2005. The city’s post-war rebuilding stands as a testament to human resilience and the ability to transform devastation into beauty.


Today, Le Havre is a vibrant city that blends its rich historical heritage with modern architecture. Visitors can stroll through the city and appreciate the juxtaposition of Perret’s concrete buildings alongside historic structures that escaped the ravages of war.


Le Havre is not only renowned for its architecture but also for its cultural importance. The Musée d’Art Moderne André Malraux, commonly known as MuMa, houses an impressive collection of art spanning several centuries. It showcases works by renowned artists such as Monet, Renoir, and Dufy, making it a must-visit destination for art enthusiasts.


As you explore Le Havre, you will discover the city’s fascinating history imprinted on every corner. From the historic Saint-Joseph Church, a stunning masterpiece of modern sacred art, to the Maison de l’Armateur, a meticulously restored 18th-century shipowner’s house, you will find reminders of the city’s past at every turn.


Le Havre is a living testament to the resilience of its people and the captivating beauty that can emerge from the ashes of destruction. It is a city that embraces its history while looking towards the future, making it a truly unique and inspiring destination to visit.


Port Facilities and Infrastructure

Le Havre boasts state-of-the-art port facilities that cater to the needs of cruise passengers from around the world. The port is strategically located on the English Channel, making it easily accessible for cruise ships of all sizes.


The main cruise terminal in Le Havre offers modern amenities and services to ensure a seamless and enjoyable experience for visitors. The terminal is equipped with immigration and customs facilities, accommodating the smooth arrival and departure of passengers. Additionally, there are luggage handling services available to assist travelers with their bags.


The port facilities in Le Havre also include well-maintained docking areas capable of accommodating multiple cruise ships simultaneously. This allows for efficient disembarkation and embarkation processes, minimizing wait times for passengers.


Passengers will find a range of amenities at the cruise terminal to enhance their time in Le Havre. These amenities may include shops, cafes, and information desks where visitors can obtain maps, brochures, and guidance on local attractions and events.


Le Havre is a part of the Cruise Europe network, ensuring that the port maintains international standards in terms of safety, security, and quality of services. The dedicated team at the port strives to provide excellent customer service and ensure that passengers’ needs are met throughout their time in Le Havre.


For passengers who wish to explore beyond the port, Le Havre offers various transportation options. The city has a reliable public transportation system, including buses and trams, that connect the port to different parts of the city and its surrounding areas.


Le Havre is also well-connected to other popular destinations in France. The city has excellent rail links, making it easy to travel to nearby cities such as Paris, Rouen, and the charming town of Honfleur. Additionally, for those who prefer to travel by air, Le Havre has its own international airport with connections to major European cities.


As part of ongoing improvements, the port of Le Havre continues to invest in infrastructure enhancements to accommodate the growing number of cruise ships and passengers. These developments aim to provide a seamless and efficient experience for visitors, ensuring that their time in Le Havre is enjoyable and memorable.


Whether you are arriving in Le Havre as a port of call or embarking on a cruise from this vibrant city, the port facilities and infrastructure are designed to provide a comfortable and convenient experience for all passengers. From the moment you step off the ship to the moment you depart, Le Havre’s port facilities will impress you with their efficiency and dedication to ensuring a positive cruise experience for all visitors.


Cruise Terminal Amenities

The cruise terminal in Le Havre offers a wide range of amenities to enhance the experience for cruise passengers. Whether you are embarking on a new journey or exploring the city during a port of call, the terminal provides facilities and services to ensure your time in Le Havre is comfortable and enjoyable.


Upon arrival at the cruise terminal, you will find welcoming and knowledgeable staff ready to assist you. They can provide information on local attractions, answer any questions you may have, and offer guidance on transportation options and nearby points of interest.


The terminal is equipped with immigration and customs facilities, streamlining the disembarkation and embarkation processes. Passengers can expect efficient and organized procedures, allowing them to smoothly transition from ship to shore or vice versa.


For those with luggage, the cruise terminal offers convenient baggage handling services. You can drop off your bags upon arrival, freeing you up to explore the city without the burden of heavy suitcases. Similarly, when it’s time to depart, the terminal provides a secure area to store your luggage until you are ready to board your cruise ship.


Within the cruise terminal, you will find a variety of shops and boutiques. These establishments offer a range of products, including souvenirs, clothing, accessories, and local specialties. It’s the perfect opportunity to pick up a memento to remember your time in Le Havre.


If you’re feeling peckish or in need of a caffeine boost, the terminal also features cafes and eateries. You can grab a quick snack or enjoy a leisurely meal while taking in the views of the port. These establishments offer a variety of culinary options, ensuring there’s something to please every palate.


Additionally, the cruise terminal often hosts tourist information desks where you can obtain maps, brochures, and recommendations for local activities and attractions. The friendly staff at these desks are eager to help you make the most of your time in Le Havre, providing suggestions for sightseeing tours, cultural experiences, and events happening in the city.


For passengers requiring accessibility features, the cruise terminal is designed to accommodate different needs. The facilities are designed with ramps and elevators for easy access, and staff are available to assist individuals with mobility challenges.


Le Havre’s cruise terminal amenities are continuously being improved and upgraded to meet the needs and expectations of modern travelers. The goal is to create an enjoyable and stress-free experience for all passengers who pass through the terminal.


Whether you’re a first-time cruiser or a seasoned traveler, the amenities at Le Havre’s cruise terminal will ensure a seamless and pleasant start or end to your cruise experience. From convenient baggage handling services to a variety of shops and eateries, the terminal offers everything you need to make your visit to Le Havre a memorable one.


Attractions and Landmarks in Le Havre

Le Havre is a city rich in history, culture, and architectural marvels. Whether you are a history enthusiast, an art lover, or simply looking to explore something new, Le Havre offers a myriad of attractions and landmarks that are sure to captivate your imagination.


One of Le Havre’s most iconic landmarks is the Saint-Joseph Church. Designed by renowned architect Auguste Perret, this modern masterpiece is characterized by its towering spire and stunning stained glass windows. The church is a symbol of the city’s post-war rebuilding and is well worth a visit for its unique and awe-inspiring architecture.


Art lovers will appreciate a visit to the Musée d’Art Moderne André Malraux, also known as the MuMa. The museum houses an extensive collection of modern and contemporary art, with works by renowned artists such as Monet, Renoir, and Dufy. The MuMa is a treasure trove for art enthusiasts, showcasing the beauty and diversity of artistic expression.


Le Havre is also home to the Maison de l’Armateur, a meticulously restored 18th-century shipowner’s house. This beautifully preserved building offers a glimpse into the city’s maritime history and provides insight into the lives of the wealthy shipowners of that era. The Maison de l’Armateur is a testament to Le Havre’s past as a thriving port city.


For those seeking natural beauty, a trip to the stunning Etretat cliffs is a must. Located a short drive from Le Havre, these iconic cliffs are known for their dramatic limestone formations and breathtaking views of the English Channel. Take a leisurely stroll along the cliff path, or if you’re feeling adventurous, venture down to the beach for a closer look at the soaring cliffs.


Just a short distance from Le Havre, you’ll find the picturesque seaside town of Honfleur. This charming town is famous for its historic harbor, quaint cobblestone streets, and colorful half-timbered houses. Stroll along the waterfront, visit the Sainte-Catherine Church, and explore the art galleries and boutiques that line the streets. Honfleur is sure to enchant you with its timeless beauty.


Le Havre also serves as a gateway to the beautiful region of Normandy. From here, you can embark on a journey to explore the historic D-Day beaches, where the Allied Forces landed during World War II. Visit the Omaha Beach Memorial Museum, pay your respects at the American Cemetery, and reflect on the sacrifices made during this pivotal moment in history.


These are just a few of the many attractions and landmarks that await you in Le Havre. The city’s unique blend of history, art, and natural beauty offers endless opportunities for exploration and discovery. Soak in the rich heritage of the city, immerse yourself in its vibrant culture, and create memories that will last a lifetime.


Onshore Activities and Excursions

Le Havre offers a wide range of onshore activities and excursions that cater to all interests and preferences. Whether you’re looking for cultural immersion, outdoor adventures, or a taste of local cuisine, there is something for everyone in this vibrant city.


A visit to the stunning Musée d’Art Moderne André Malraux, also known as the MuMa, is a must for art enthusiasts. Explore the museum’s extensive collection of modern and contemporary art, featuring works by renowned artists such as Monet, Renoir, and Dufy. Marvel at the captivating masterpieces and gain a deeper understanding of the artistic heritage of Le Havre.


If you’re a lover of architecture, consider taking a guided tour of the city to discover the fascinating post-war buildings designed by Auguste Perret. Learn about the innovative techniques used in the reconstruction of Le Havre and gain insight into the city’s unique architectural landscape. Admire the beauty of the modernist structures and appreciate the harmonious blend of old and new.


For those who enjoy the great outdoors, a trip to the picturesque Etretat cliffs is a must. Embark on a guided hike along the cliff path and take in the breathtaking panoramic views of the English Channel. Explore the famous rock formations, such as the Needle and the Door of Aval, and marvel at the natural beauty that has inspired artists for centuries.


Le Havre also offers opportunities for water-based activities. Consider taking a boat tour along the Seine River to experience the city from a different perspective. Cruise along the river, passing by historic landmarks, charming waterfront neighborhoods, and lush green landscapes. Feel the gentle breeze on your face as you soak in the beauty of Le Havre from the water.


For a taste of local cuisine, embark on a food tour through the streets of Le Havre. Sample delicious regional delicacies, such as fresh seafood, cheeses, and locally-produced cider. Learn about the culinary traditions of Normandy and gain insight into the flavors that define the region. From traditional French bistros to innovative gastronomic experiences, Le Havre offers a diverse array of dining options to satisfy any palate.


Le Havre also serves as a gateway to the beautiful region of Normandy. Take an excursion to the historic city of Rouen, known for its stunning medieval architecture and connection to Joan of Arc. Explore the charming streets, visit the magnificent Rouen Cathedral, and immerse yourself in the rich history of this fascinating city.


For history enthusiasts, a trip to the D-Day landing sites is a must. Visit the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial at Omaha Beach, pay tribute to the fallen soldiers, and gain a deeper understanding of the events that took place during World War II. Take a guided tour to learn about the heroic acts that shaped history and reflect on the sacrifices made by those who fought for freedom.


These are just a few examples of the onshore activities and excursions that await you in Le Havre. Whether you choose to explore the city’s cultural landmarks, immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the region, or delve into its rich history, Le Havre offers a wealth of experiences that will leave a lasting impression.


Shopping and Dining in Le Havre

Le Havre is not only a city of history and culture but also a haven for shopaholics and food enthusiasts. The city offers a delightful combination of shopping opportunities and a diverse culinary scene, ensuring that visitors have a memorable experience for their taste buds and retail therapy desires.


When it comes to shopping, the city center of Le Havre is a shopper’s paradise. The bustling streets are lined with a wide range of boutiques, shops, and markets, offering everything from well-known international brands to local artisanal products. Explore the pedestrian-friendly Rue de Paris, where you can find fashion boutiques, jewelry stores, and gift shops.


For those looking for a unique shopping experience, a visit to the Les Halles Centrales is a must. This vibrant market hall is a treasure trove of fresh produce, seafood, cheese, and other local specialties. Immerse yourself in the hustle and bustle of the market, interact with friendly vendors, and sample the flavors of Normandy. It’s the perfect place to pick up some delicious treats to enjoy during your stay in Le Havre or to bring back home as souvenirs.


Le Havre is also home to several shopping centers and malls, offering a wide variety of brands and products. The Espace Coty and Docks Vauban are two popular destinations for fashion, electronics, and home furnishings. Whether you’re looking for designer labels or budget-friendly options, you’ll find plenty of choices to suit your style and preferences.


When it comes to dining, Le Havre offers a diverse culinary scene to satisfy every palate. The city is known for its fresh seafood, thanks to its coastal location. Indulge in a plate of moules marinières (marinated mussels), enjoy a classic fish dish, or savor the delicate flavors of a seafood platter. Pair your meal with a glass of Normandy cider, a locally-produced specialty, for a true taste of the region.


Le Havre’s dining options extend beyond seafood, with a range of international cuisines to choose from. From French bistros and Italian trattorias to Asian fusion and Middle Eastern fare, you’ll find a multitude of flavors and culinary experiences in the city. Whether you’re in the mood for a casual meal or an upscale dining experience, Le Havre has something to suit every taste and budget.


As you explore the city, don’t forget to indulge in some delicious French pastries and desserts. Stop by a local patisserie to sample delectable treats such as éclairs, macarons, and tartelettes. Pair your sweet indulgence with a cup of coffee or tea at one of the city’s charming cafes, and take a moment to relax and soak in the ambiance of Le Havre.


Le Havre’s shopping and dining scene truly cater to all tastes and desires. Whether you’re in search of unique souvenirs, fashionable finds, or a memorable culinary experience, the city offers a wonderful blend of local charm and international options. So, embrace the opportunity to shop till you drop and savor the flavors of Le Havre as you immerse yourself in the cultural and gastronomic delights the city has to offer.


Local Transportation and Getting Around

Getting around in Le Havre is easy and convenient, thanks to the city’s well-developed transportation infrastructure. Whether you’re exploring the city center or venturing out to nearby destinations, there are various transportation options available to make your journey hassle-free.


One of the most popular ways to get around Le Havre is by using the public transportation system. The city has an efficient network of buses and trams that serve different areas and connect with major points of interest. The buses and trams in Le Havre operate on a regular schedule, making it easy to plan your journeys and navigate the city.


If you prefer exploring the city on foot, you’ll find that Le Havre is a pedestrian-friendly destination. The city center is compact, allowing you to easily navigate the streets and discover hidden gems around every corner. Walking not only offers you the chance to fully immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of Le Havre but also provides opportunities to stumble upon charming shops, cafes, and historic landmarks.


Le Havre also offers a bike-sharing program called “LiA Vélo” for those who prefer cycling. You can rent bicycles from various stations across the city and explore at your own pace. Riding a bike in Le Havre allows you to cover more ground while enjoying the scenic views and taking advantage of the dedicated cycling paths available.


For longer trips or visits to nearby destinations, Le Havre benefits from excellent transportation connections. The city has a well-connected train station, providing regular services to major cities like Paris and Rouen. Trains offer a convenient and efficient way to explore other parts of France while enjoying comfortable and scenic journeys.


If you’re arriving in Le Havre by air, the city has its own international airport, Octeville Airport. The airport is located just a short distance from the city center and offers domestic and international flights to several destinations. From the airport, you can easily reach Le Havre via taxi, shuttle service, or public transportation.


Additionally, for those who prefer the flexibility of driving, Le Havre has a well-developed road network. The city is connected to major highways, making it easy to reach from other parts of France and neighboring countries. However, if you plan to drive in the city center, be aware of pedestrian zones and parking restrictions. There are several parking options available throughout the city, including public parking lots and street parking areas.


Overall, getting around in Le Havre is a breeze, thanks to the city’s efficient public transportation system, pedestrian-friendly layout, and convenient connections to other destinations. Whether you choose to walk, take a bus or tram, rent a bike, or hop on a train, you’ll find that navigating Le Havre and exploring its surroundings is a seamless and enjoyable experience.


Useful Tips for Cruising to Le Havre

If you’re planning a cruise to Le Havre, here are some helpful tips to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience:

  1. Check your visa requirements: Before embarking on your cruise, make sure to check the visa requirements for your nationality. Le Havre is located in France, so depending on your citizenship, you may need to obtain a Schengen visa if you plan to stay in the country beyond the duration of your cruise.
  2. Plan your time wisely: Le Havre offers a plethora of attractions, both within the city and in the surrounding areas. Take some time to research and plan your itinerary in advance to make the most of your stay. Consider booking shore excursions or guided tours to ensure you maximize your time and experience the highlights of Le Havre and its neighboring destinations.
  3. Prepare for the weather: Le Havre experiences a temperate maritime climate, with mild summers and cool winters. Be sure to check the weather forecast before your trip and pack accordingly. Bring comfortable walking shoes, a light jacket or sweater, and don’t forget your sunglasses and sunscreen for those sunny days.
  4. Respect the local customs and etiquette: Familiarize yourself with the local customs and etiquette to show respect for the culture and traditions of Le Havre. Learn a few basic French phrases as a sign of goodwill and politeness, although many locals in tourist areas speak English. Remember to greet people with a polite “Bonjour” and “Merci” when interacting with locals, and keep in mind the general rules of politeness and personal space.
  5. Stay connected: If staying connected is important to you, consider purchasing a local SIM card or activating an international roaming plan for your mobile phone. Additionally, free Wi-Fi is available in many hotels, cafes, and restaurants in Le Havre, allowing you to stay connected and share your adventures with family and friends.
  6. Don’t forget travel insurance: It’s always a good idea to have travel insurance for your cruise. This will provide you with peace of mind in case of any unforeseen circumstances or emergencies that may arise during your trip. Make sure your insurance covers medical expenses, trip cancellations, and lost or stolen belongings.
  7. Be mindful of the local currency: The official currency in France is the Euro (EUR). It’s advisable to have some local currency on hand for small purchases and to ensure that you can navigate through any unforeseen circumstances. ATMs are widely available throughout Le Havre, and credit cards are accepted in most establishments, but it’s always handy to have some cash for small expenses or places that may not accept cards.

By keeping these useful tips in mind, you can make the most of your cruise to Le Havre and ensure a memorable and enjoyable experience. Bon voyage!



Le Havre, with its rich history, stunning architecture, and vibrant culture, is a captivating destination for cruise travelers. Whether exploring the city’s post-war architectural wonders, immersing yourself in the world of art at the MuMa, or venturing out to the nearby attractions in Normandy, Le Havre offers a wealth of experiences for every type of traveler.


The city’s port facilities provide a seamless and comfortable experience for cruise passengers, ensuring a smooth arrival and departure. The well-designed cruise terminal offers modern amenities and services, including convenient baggage handling and information desks, allowing visitors to start their exploration of Le Havre on the right foot.


Le Havre’s attractions and landmarks tell a captivating story of resilience and reinvention. From the iconic Saint-Joseph Church to the Maison de l’Armateur, each offers a glimpse into the city’s past and its architectural prowess. The cultural scene, represented by the MuMa and its impressive art collection, showcases the city’s commitment to the arts and its dedication to preserving its artistic heritage.


When it comes to onshore activities, Le Havre does not disappoint. Whether embarking on guided tours, hiking the Etretat cliffs, or visiting nearby historic sites like Rouen or the D-Day beaches, there are endless opportunities for exploration and discovery.


Le Havre is also a paradise for food enthusiasts and shopaholics. The city offers a diverse culinary scene, from fresh seafood delicacies to international cuisines, satisfying every palate. The shopping options, from local markets and boutiques to modern shopping centers, cater to all tastes and preferences.


Getting around in Le Havre is a breeze, with a well-connected public transportation system, pedestrian-friendly streets, and convenient access to other destinations via trains and airports. The city’s compact layout makes it easy to navigate and adds to the overall charm and convenience of exploring Le Havre.


As you bid adieu to Le Havre and your cruise comes to an end, the memories and experiences gained in this remarkable city are sure to linger. Whether it’s the awe-inspiring architecture, the breathtaking natural landscapes, the delicious flavors, or the warm hospitality, the allure of Le Havre will stay with you long after you leave its shores.


So, embark on a journey to Le Havre, and let its history, culture, and beauty capture your heart. It’s a destination that promises an unforgettable experience for all who venture there.