Set on France’s western coast at the mouth of the English Channel and the Seine River, the Le Havre Cruise Port serves as a popular stop for cruises of Europe, allowing ship passengers to venture from the port of call and explore France. The UNESCO-listed coastal city of Le Havre (meaning ‘the harbor’) is visited for its World War II history, its close proximity to Normandy, and its reputation among cruisers as ‘the gateway to Paris.’The Basics
Popular day trip destinations from Le Havre include Mont St Michel (137 miles or 220 km to the southwest); the World War II battle sites, cemeteries, and D-Day beaches of Normandy; and Paris (120 miles or 195 km to the east). Caen, Rouen, and Honfleur are other popular cities within an hour’s drive of Le Havre (Honfleur is the closest at only 12.4 miles or 20 km away), and all are available on shore excursion tours. Some cruisers opt for a full-day trip to Bayeux and Caen or a half-day tour to Giverny (83 miles or 134 km away) to see Claude Monet’s house, workshop, and gardens.
Things to Know Before You Go
There’s a lot to see in Normandy, so expect most shore excursions to run at about eight hours long; trips from the pier to Paris are longer given the extra transport time.Most shore excursions include port pickup and dropoff.Private tours of Normandy include a professional guide and transportation while ensuring you see all the sights you’re interested in (Omaha Beach, Utah Beach, Juno Beach, the Normandy American Cemetery, and Pointe du Hoc are among the most significant D-Day sites).If you’d rather not venture further afield, Le Havre has some interesting highlights of its own, including its numerous shopping districts and historical sites.
How to Get to Le Havre from the Port of Le Havre
Cruise ships dock at the Roger Meunier and Pierre Callet piers. A visit to the nearby Le Havre Tourist Office will provide access to city information and maps, plus options for car and bike rentals, taxis, internet, food, and souvenirs. While tram and shuttle service to the city center are available, the 20-minute (1.5 miles or 2.5 km) walk into town takes you around the harbor past the Semaphore and Malraux Art Gallery; along Avenue Foch to the Saint Roch Garden and Town Hall (Place de Hotel de Ville); then to the old shopping street of Rue de Paris. The train station is about 1.5 miles (2.4 km) from the Le Havre cruise terminal and offers three-hour rides to Paris.
The currency used in Le Havre and all of France is the euro; US dollars are rarely accepted. French is the official language here, but English is also fairly common. You’ll find free WiFi at the terminal. In addition to welcoming ocean and river cruises, the Le Havre port also services commercial cargo ships.