Le Havre – The Beach
The beach of Le Havre is the prime destination of the city’s inhabitants and for many who come from as far away as Paris. As is the case with most of Upper Normandy, the beach is made out of pebbles, not sand. But in the summer months it gets very busy, thanks to the fact that the beach is very long, and with a promenade that stretches for 5 kilometres.
As is also the case in most beaches in France, you will find many small huts. These huts are often the property of families for generations, and a small piece of the beach is rented from the city for the duration of the summer.
The huts are used mostly for storing gear, but also for sunbathing, eating and mixing with other huts. Normally the huts are used only during the but at times you can find people at night partying, even sleeping.
The huts are installed at the beginning of the season, and taken away around end of September. Every year, the city of Le Havre places photos on the end of each beach hut row marking a special occasion, like the reconstruction of Le Havre, or the Second World War.
Obviously there are many water sports performed in the sea. the water is usually quite cold, although mid-summer temperatures of 18°C can be seen. One of the most poplar water sports for Le Havre, next to sailing, is kite surfing. This because there usually is a good wind blowing.
During the extended summer months, from April to October, some 15 restaurants are installed alongside the beach promenade. The interesting fact about these restaurants is that they are all made out of shipping containers. Each restaurant, all have their own food speciality, gets so much land and thereby design their own restaurants by cutting up and redesigning the containers.
Each restaurant has seats alongside the promenade for hikers, walkers and beach people to sit and have a drink. You can also often hear music being played by buskers.
Another big part of the Le Havre beach area is the skatepark. It’s the biggest one of France and is located just on the start of the beach area.
All types disciplines can be found at this big skatepark, and always you will find many people watching the skills of the younger generations. Once a year, at the end of August, is an international competition which includes many international professionals attending and competing. Over one weekend, thousands of spectators come to see the skills of these X-gamers, and in the evening there is live music.
Alongside the end of the beach, or the beginning depending on where you start your journey is a large play area for children, the end point of the tram line and the main boulevard that leads directly to the City Hall and to the railway station.
Slightly more towards the other side, towards the harbour, is a large swimming pool (membership only), a free waddle pool for kids, playgrounds for children and the pleasure boat marina.
At the far end you can see the oil containers from the refineries (but you can never smell them).
Here is a 360° photo of the entry point of the beach area, next to the skatepark. Click on the photo and then keeping your (left) mouse pressed drag up/down/left/right to see the whole 360°.
So if you plan to be in Le Havre during the summer months, a refreshing stop at the beach is of order. Have a long stroll along the coast, swim, eat at one of the restaurants or marvel at the skills displayed at the skatepark.