Industrial port in the département of Seine-Maritime in Normandy, northwest France, on the north side of the estuary of the River Seine, 90 km/56 mi from Rouen; population (2005 est) 183,600. It is the second-largest port in France (the largest in terms of export tonnage and container-ship traffic) and the fifth-largest European port; it has cross-channel passenger links to Portsmouth, England. Industries include textiles, engineering, chemicals, car manufacturing, and oil refining. It is a major import centre for cotton, coffee, sugar, tobacco, and wool.
History Le Havre was founded (as Havre-de-Grâce) in 1517 by Francis I, and supplanted Harfleur, which was at that time a port of great importance, but was beginning to silt up. In 1562 Louis I, Prince of Condé, the commander of the Huguenot army, delivered the town to the custody of Elizabeth I of England, but the English were expelled by Charles IX and Catherine de' Medici in 1563. It prospered during the American Revolution by trading with the American rebels. The Allied invasion of Normandy in 1944 took place on beaches located just 40 km/25 mi west-south-west of Le Havre.
Features The town was largely rebuilt following its destruction during the Allied invasion of France in World War II. It was Europe's most heavily damaged port. The reconstruction was designed by Auguste Perret in an architectural style derived from a modern interpretation of neo-Gothic and neoclassical principles. There is a major oil terminal at the nearby Cap d'Antifer. Barges from Paris can approach the port by means of the Tancarville Canal. The seaside resort of Sainte-Adresse is nearby. The Malraux Museum (1961) contains a fine-art collection, and is a reconstruction of a museum founded in 1844 that was destroyed in World War II. It was named after the French writer André Malraux.