“Le Havre is an incredible asset for Normandy. At a time when so many regions are still struggling to deal with globalization, our reunited Normandy holds a real trump card in Le Havre when it comes to international competition. Like Shanghai, New York, Barcelona and Singapore, Le Havre is a port city giving the region membership to the very exclusive club of world cities.
Found in 1517 by Francis I as a State port, Le Havre has a very singular history of achievements and tragedies but above all, it has a very special place in our hearts and minds. Firstly, it belongs to the evocative universe of the great shipping companies with their cargo ships and cruise liners. Just a few days ago, I reread a few pages from the correspondence of writer and explorer Victor Segalen, dating from the early 20th century. He described his departure from Le Havre for New York, the crowds gathered at the port, the applause and cheers, and the liners’ sirens. Le Havre’s legend also recalls the first big international hotels, the emergence of the trend for seaside bathing, and the Sainte-Adresse regattas dear to Claude Monet. Flags flap in the wind, elegant bathers keep to the shade of their white parasols, while a man seated in a wicker chair watches the sailing boats on the horizon. Nothing much has changed, at least not in our imagination, and hundreds of thousands of passengers still stop off in Le Havre for a taste of this unique atmosphere.
Established by royal power to consolidate military positions along our coast, Le Havre has, more than many other places, paid a very heavy price for its national loyalty. But Le Havre has always been able to recover. How many cities would have so emphatically overcome the destruction caused by the 1944 bombings, then the industrial redevelopment and major economic changes of our time? Every time, the people of Le Havre have braved these hardships and turned them into new opportunities for success. Over ten years ago, UNESCO justly recognized the hard work put in by municipal staff when it inscribed Le Havre and Perret’s architecture on the World Heritage List.
Yes, the 21st century is made for Le Havre. It is the world, it is the stuff of legends, it is life. Le Havre is also a beacon for the Normandy we envision, now more than ever, looking out to the open seas, innovative and conquering. Thanks to Le Havre, the rest of the world is much closer for us Normans. What a blessing! This optimism and faith in the future will be illustrated in the remarkable series of events, festivities and commemorations to be held throughout 2017 on the initiative of the GIP Le Havre 2017 grouping, and to which the Normandy regional council gives its full backing.”
Hervé Morin © JF Hamon_Région Normandie
PRESIDENT OF NORMANDY REGION
- 18 May - 18 June 2007: Minister of Defense in François Fillon’s first cabinet
- 18 June 2007 - 13 November 2010: Minister of Defense in François Fillon’s second cabinet