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Le Havre is a city in the northwest region of France situated on the right bank
of the mouth of the Seine River, in the southwest of the Pays de Caux region.
It is a commune in the Seine-Maritime department and the Haute-Normandie region.
The inhabitants of the city are called Havrais or Havraises.
It is the most populous commune in the Haute-Normandie region and the
largest sub-prefecture in France. The city is surrounded by the seashore
of the English Channel to the west, the mouth of the Seine to the south,
and the coast to the north. The Seine has, for a long time, marked a natural
border between Haute-Normandie and Basse-Normandie.
Thus, the city of Honfleur is, in the expression of the Havrais, "on the other coast."
Impression, soleil levant -
The history of the city is inextricably linked to its harbour.
In the 18th century, as trade from the West Indies was added to that of France
and Europe, Le Havre began to grow.
During the 19th century, it became an industrial centre,
an image vividly brought to life by the paintings of
The German-seized city was devastated during the Battle of Normandy
in World War II: 5,000 people were killed and 12,000 homes were totally destroyed,
mainly by British air attacks.
Despite this, Le Havre became the location of one of the biggest Replacement Depots,
or "Repple Depples" in the European Theatre of operations in WWII.
Thousands of American replacement troops poured through the city
before being deployed to combat operations.
After the war, the center was rebuilt in modernist style by Auguste Perret.
UNESCO declared the city center of Le Havre
a World Heritage Site on July 15, 2005,
in honoring the "innovative utilization of concrete's potential."
The 133-hectare space that represents, according to UNESCO,
"an exceptional example of architecture and town planning of the post-war era,"
is one of the rare contemporary World Heritage Sites in Europe.
Click on the picture to the right for a more detailed view,
or see the official UNESCO movie
here (13,7 MB).