Le Havre, where to see a little of the old and a little of the new in France

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Le Havre is a city in the Seine-Maritime Department in Haute-Normandie on the North Western coast of France. The name Le Havre means harbour and indeed the city is set on a harbour.

Founded in 1517 by the French king Francois I, it was named Franciscopolis in his honour.

The German-occupied city was destroyed by allied forces during World War II and was later redesigned and rebuilt by Brazilian architect Auguste Perret. The rebuilt city was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005.

The Le Havre port is the second busiest in France after Marseille. For travelers who wish to move between England and France it is possible to take a ferry from Le Havre to Portsmouth in England. The trip takes five and a half hours.

For the traveler who wants to see a mixture of the old and the modern in France then Le Havre is the place. Several pre-war structures still exist such as the Musee du Havre, the Abbey de Graville, while the more modern include the Church of St. Joseph, arguably the most recognizable sight in the city with its bell tower rising over 100 feet.

Other modern buildings include the Hotel de Ville and the Musee des Beaux Arts Andre Malraux. Getting around Le Havre can be by done by bus or tram and the city is two hours from Paris by train.

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