All Eyes on Le Havre

The Channel port has lined up a range of events on land and sea to celebrate its 500th anniversary

The port of Le Havre in Normandy is marking its 500th anniversary this year with a six-month celebration of its artistic and maritime heritage.

The city was founded by Francois I in 1517 and is considered the birthplace of Impressionism. After being badly damaged by bombing near the end of World War II, Le Havre was transformed by the visionary architect Auguste Perret. He was a pioneer in the use of concrete and filled the old centre with striking uniform architecture, which gained Unesco World Heritage status in 2005.

The anniversary celebrations last from 27 May to 5 November and feature art exhibitions, parades, theatrical performances and boat races.

Highlights of the entertainment include the giant mechanical puppets created by the Nantes based Royal de Luxe street theater company, which is staging free shows across the city from 6-9 July.

Nantes based Royal de Luxe giant puppets theater

The big event for art enthusiasts is the return of Claude Monet’s masterpiece Impression, Sunrise, to the city where it was painted in 1872. The painting will go on display at the Musee d’Art Moderne Andre Malraux from 9 September to 8 October alongside works by Eugene Boudin, Camille Pissarro and J.M.W. Turner.

Impression, sunrise, 1873 – Claude Monet

On the maritime front, Le Havre will host the climax of the Rendezvous 2017 Tall Ships Regata from 21 August and the start of Jacques Vabre double-handed transatlantic race on 5 November.

Tall Ship Kruzenshtern in Le Havre

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