In the 19th century, the beach of Le Havre was one of the most popular in France with Dieppe.
These two towns were incidentally the first seaside resorts in France and attracted the whole aristocracy. It was the development of sea bathing: casinos, baths, theatres… Le Havre had everything a great seaside resort had to offer.
But the thing is, history has decided otherwise. The seafront, the Belle Epoque villas, the casinos were bombed during the Second World War.
But as usual, Le Havre has managed to take up the challenge. After many years of reconstruction and remodelling, the beach of Le Havre has finally regained its bygone splendour. Redesigned by the famous landscape architect, Chemetoff, who also designed the Isle de Nantes, the beach of Le Havre has become again a place for leisure.
Today, this 2-km (1.2 miles) long beach delights the inhabitants of Le Havre who meet there for a walk, a drink in one of the numerous bars and restaurants, to go swimming or simply recharge their batteries along the seafront. It is here, between the sea and the river that the estuary provides Le Havre with its ever-changing lights. A stroll along the beach is also the opportunity to watch the ships come and go. This bay of Le Havre is like no other: everything meets there, everything is impressive … as if in a painting, scenes overlap: relaxation on the beach, water sports activities such as kitesurfing or windsurfing, further away the activity in the port and the Côte Fleurie (Flower Coast) coastline in the background. On a cloudless day, you can make out Arromanche's artificial port in the distance…
Le Havre can claim to be the first maritime city in France with more than 3,000 members of water sports clubs. Here, sailing is a tradition that is still very successful and which is taught, thanks to the Département of Seine-Maritime, in all the secondary schools in the city.
The Bay of Le Havre is a very popular spot where everyone can practice the water sport he or she likes. Windsurfing in one of the best places in France: Sainte-Adresse, kitesurfing, stand up paddle surfing… all the water sports activities are readily available and provide a beautiful spectacle from the beach.
From Le Havre, you will be able to board a sailing ship to explore the coast of Normandy or travel to the Isle of Wight.
Boardsports are not only in water but also on dry land with the largest outdoor skatepark in Europe. Young people meet in this very popular location by the beach to ride on the snake run, the spine, bowls and other inclined walls with their bikes or skateboards. This surprising place full of energy often hosts competitive events. You can sit around to admire the riders' technical skills.