This year the port city of Le Havre in Normandy, France celebrates it’s 500th anniversary, here’s a guide to 3 steals, 2 spends and 1 splurge for all those heading to France’s second port.
Sleep: Hôtel Le Richelieu
Located on rue de Paris in the heart of downtown Le Havre this four storey chic little hotel is a comfortable and ideally located place to stay. The rooms have a nautical theme, fitting for the city’s port status, and are equipped with free WiFi, TV with international channels and central heating. Breakfast is available and is a classic French/European affair but when situated on rue de Paris which is lined with bakeries and only a stone’s throw away from Les Halles Centrales it’s worth getting up early and taking breakfast in the nearby St Roch park.
Eat: Pizzeria da Salvatore
Okay, so you might not travel to France to experience an authentic, family run, Italian pizzeria but with pizza this good it would be foolish to avoid this pizza joint on Rue Bernardin de Saint-Pierre. Inside the whole place is completely covered in Italian memorabilia, in particular football jerseys and scarves. It’s hectic, jumbled and feels like you’re in someone’s home but the service is top notch, the food portions enormous and also ridiculously tasty. There’s an extensive choice of pizza and other Italian staples as well – a definite must.
Shop: LoHo Le Local sHop
Yes, that’s how they write it. It’s actually quite catchy, LoHo is the ultimate souvenir shop that puts others to shame. Selling an array of items including mugs, t-shirts, soaps, candles, food and drink each item references the city in one way or another. They use local artists’ work for their tote bags, posters and post cards and have unique and unusual designs. You won’t find replicas of these items in any other store in the city.
Hidden down Rue Victor Hugo is Williamsburg a hip and fresh cafe/patisserie. Opened in 2014 this coffee place started out rather basic in terms of choice but was a refreshing change from the usual French tabacs that populate the area. Today they’ve upgraded their menu (their Instagram is food-porn at it’s finest) and in addition to standard coffees and baguettes they serve a range of hipster-esque milkshakes, cupcakes and cheesecakes (raspberry and matcha cheesecake anyone?) The decor is simple and minimalist and again may go underappreciated by those after a more traditional French experience but the sweet treats here are top notch.
Shop: La Galerne
This bookshop is situated on the corner of Rue Victor Hugo near the Bassin du Commerce, a stylish area of downtown Le Havre. This bookshop has over 100,000 books spread over three floors. It’s always busy and the queues can sometimes lead onto the street, the good new is that there are plenty of comfy chairs to kick back in as well as a small cafe. There’s everything from fiction to cookery books, comic books to art and photography guides, there’s even a selection of English language books. They don’t come cheap however so make sure you have plenty of euros.
Eat: Jean-Luc Tartarin
This restaurant located just on Avenue Foch near the town hall in the centre of the bustling downtown area has been awarded two Michelin Stars. The menu is fixed priced and changes regularly, Chef Jean-Luc Tartarin uses locally sourced ingredients for all his dishes many of which are seafood based, inspired by the city’s proximity to the ocean. The interior is cool, chic and classy just like the menu.