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Grenier des Docks Vauban

Tour 4

Normandie, Viêt-Nam, Île-de-France, Georges Philippar, France, Ville d'Alger, Washington, Gange, Mariette Pacha… in each name rings the memory of legendary ocean liner that once frequented Le Havre's port.  Born amidst light and pride, they sometimes fell to tragic fates, set afire, gutted and sunk... The ships set forth by French companies like La Compagnie Générale Transatlantique or Les Messageries Maritimes sailed the seas and oceans, carrying millions of women and men to far-flung destinations. Many a trace can be found of these giants of the oceans and life aboard them: photos, objects, documents, films, etc., which French Lines collects and conserves in Le Havre. In them lie as much about history with a capital H as about the personal everyday of these “floating cities”.

For this exhibition, the immense ships, veritable feats of technology in their day and now extinct, have bowed out to the scale models depicting them - invaluable models meticulous in their design and varying in dimension. Brought out of their boxes and together for the first time, these miniature liners sail the hall, decked out as an ocean for the occasion.  They travel their routes connected up to their carrying cases, conjuring up images of the thousands of round trips made when they were the face of maritime transport. Each model is a bit of silent solitude moving across space. Imaginary lines intersect, delineate and bring out the latitudes and longitudes that form the blueprint of this maritime history, thus bringing back to life each ship so that they can tell their tales of disappeared worlds.  

Aurélien Bory

Image © Lucas Thebault

Practical info


Floating Cities


Grenier des Docks Vauban
27 May  / 08 October 

Grenier des Docks Vauban
Entry by Quai des Antilles, between doors 1 & 3
76600 Le Havre

This event benefits from the support of
  • logo Centre Commercial Docks Vauban
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Our patrons

  • logo LH CLUB 2017
  • logo VINCI Construction France
  • logo Transdev
  • logo EDF
  • logo Total SA
  • logo Matmut pour les arts
  • logo SNCF