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Le Havre History, France


According to some sources, Le Havre is one of the places in France that was mainly damaged as a result of World War II. There were about 11,000 bombs used and the final attack of the allies killed 5,000 citizens and around 80,000 families were made homeless. It was on September 12, 1945 that the city was released, that was more than 2 weeks after Marseille and Paris set its freedom. Some buildings were destroyed by the assault, and it took them more than two years to clear the debris away. Subsequent to that, the re-construction began and August Perret who was known as the “wizard of reinforced concrete” handled the project.

There are arguments about Le Havre as to whether it exists as a new city or it was just an extension of Harfleur. Harfleur is the previous Gallic city of Caracotinum, Cauchois that is now recognized as the suburb of the city.

The port was established in 1517 and it was the replacement of the one that exists in Harfleur. It was baptized in Ville Francoise de Grace in respect to King Francois 1. Jerome Bellarmato laid out the vicinity of St. Francois from 1541 in a grid-pattern. The area that is situated next to Notre-Dame of the west has shaped the new town’s heart. In 1793, the town was named as Le Havre de Marat, and it was shortened into Havre Marat. Then in 1795, the town became Le Havre.

Some of the pre-war structures still exist in town; these are probably the buildings that were renovated after they were damaged by war. The Cathedral of Notre Dame is one of the structures that were saved together with the Museum de l’Ancien-Havre that was built in St. Francois on the 17th century. Nearby the cathedral is the Natural history museum, also one of the pre-war structures, which has been placed to the earlier courthouse in 18th century.

The city of Le Havre has been acknowledged as the largest in Normandy. The town was placed in the category of the World Heritage Site last July 2005. It is now one of the most progressive cities in the entire state.

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