Le Havre, World Heritage Site

Housing buildings on Avenue Foch.

Avenue Foch

Large avenue leading to the sea front, Avenue Foch is the “Champs Elysées” of Le Havre. It is lined with side lanes and wide lawns, like a real park at the heart of the city.

Walking along, you will discover a few sculptures lounging in the sun. Originally 35 metres wide, it became 80 metres wide and 700 metres long after reconstruction in the 1950’s. Today the tramway line runs in the middle of the avenue. On both sides the buildings are vast and full of bright light, and their entrances are large and modern.

50 architects

All of the same height and same general lay-out, the buildings are organized in a regular fashion. The various architects – about fifty altogether- respected the imposed limits of pace and a regular structural module of 6,24 metres, and felt free enough to adapt it to 6,20 metres for some blocks and 6,40 metres for others.

Have a close look! You will discover splendid entrance hall decorated in mahogany wood, and, above the front doors, bas-reliefs presenting the “Worthies” of Le Havre.

Bas-reliefs on Avenue Foch

Different sculptors were asked for bas-reliefs to decorate the lintels of the front doors. Each building on Avenue Foch was given a theme and a name: house of aviators, writers, sciences, fine Arts, industrialists. These bas-reliefs pay homage to famous, local born people: artists (Raoul Dufy, Othon Friesz…), industrialists, poets (Casimir Delavigne). These are the “Celebrities of Le Havre”. Most of the bas-reliefs date back to 1953 and still belong today to the buildings’ co-owners, they were made of dressed stone (white limestone, red sandstone, black rock).

Slideshow

Foch Avenue.
Foch Avenue.
Bas-relief on Avenue Foch building.