Where You're Docked
Le Havre is billed by cruise lines as the "port of Paris." But it should be noted that Le Havre, which lies in France's Normandy region, is a 2 1/2-hour (each way) commute from the port itself. Travelers who have already visited Paris may want to consider touring Normandy--fascinating in its own right, not to mention beautiful. Otherwise, see below for commuting info between Paris and the port of Le Havre. As a destination itself, Le Havre was very heavily bombed during World War II and contains little of historic interest.
Where to Eat and Drink
If dining-with-a-view appeals, a must-do is the dining room at La Samaritaine (19 rue de la Monnaie); it's called The Toupary Restaurant. Otherwise, you can hardly go wrong at any of the myriad of bistros and cafes that Paris is famous for.
What to See and Do
Paris' Famous Attractions: Arc de Triomphe (Place Charles de Gaulle); The Louvre (Place de Louvre); Eiffel Tower (Champ-de-Mars); Notre Dame Cathedral (Ile de la Cite); Musee Picasso (205 rue de Thorigny); Musee d'Orsay (1 rue de Bellechasse); Champs-Elysees, one of the world's most beautiful avenues (great people-watching, too); Musee Rodin (77 rue de arenne).
Beyond the Great Sights: Consider focusing your day-of-touring on one or two neighborhoods (called "Arrondissements"). On the Left Bank, in Arrondissement #205 is the Latin Quarter (home of the Sorbonne, fabulous winding narrow lanes with funky boutiques and intimate cafes). St. Germain-des-Pres, which borders the Latin Quarter but has more up-market boutiques and an equally captivating atmosphere, is in Arrondissement #6. On the Right Bank, the Louvre is in Arrondissement #1 and 8. Montmartre, newly rediscovered as a result of the award-winning flick "Moulin Rouge," stands on a hilltop in #18.
Explore Normandy. Le Havre basically lies in the center of the Normandy region, which has a number of well-known sights to see. Among them: a World War II-related trip to the D-day beaches. Or a trip to Honfleur, a picturesque port town made famous by impressionists like Claude Monet. Another option: Mont-St.-Michel, the abbey perched on a 264-foot rock. The two best ways to get around, particularly if you're only in port for one day:
Hire a taxi for the day--they line up at the pier--for a customized look at Normandy. Note, however, that you should negotiate the rate before you get into the taxi, and that drivers may well not speak much English. If you're planning in advance, check out Le Havre Taxi Tour; they publish fixed prices for tours of the region.
Want a little more assistance? Book a full- or half-day guided tour of any of the region's myriad of attractions (see below). Normandy Web Guide offers tours, ranging from sedans to buses, and guides all speak English. Arrangements must be made in advance.
Le Havre itself has some charms. Key attractions here include the Musee Andre-Malraux (2 blvd. Clemence), built in the 1960s; it showcases two native artists: Fauvist Raoul Dufy and Eugene Boudin. Also check out the Eglise St-Joseph (Bd. Francois-1). It's considered one of the 20th century's most outstanding churches. Dining-wise, La Taverne Paillette (22 rue Georges Braque) in the heart of the downtown shopping area, is a great choice for a "real" French experience.
Getting To Paris: Le Havre's train station is about a mile from the port though, in most cases, passengers will have to take the shuttle from the ship to the center of Le Havre and then a taxi to the station (or take a taxi directly from the port to the station). Trains run to Gare St-Lazare (Paris) roughly every hour. For more information call 800-942-4866.
Staying in Touch
In Le Havre: Cyber Metro (19 - 21 Cours de la Republique).
In Paris: Easy Internet Cafe--two locations--Left Bank (6 Rue de la Harpe near Blvd. St. Michel) and Right Bank (31-37 Boulevard de Sebastopol near Forum des Halles).
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