Le Havre, World Heritage Site

The well of light within the Ship Owner's Mansion.

The Ship Owner’s Mansion

Discover the particular atmosphere of an opulent house built in the prosperous century of successful maritime trade! The Ship owner’s Mansion, its eighteenth century architecture, its interior lay-out around a light shaft, is one of the gems of historic Le Havre, going back to just after the French Revolution.

Its unexpected architecture and view over the port take you back to old Le Havre and its traders. A few rooms are set out as in a museum. The rest present lodgings, cabinets full of curios, a library or a study belonging to a rich local trader.

Louis XVI style

Paul-Michel Thibault (1735-1799), architect of the fortifications and hydraulic engineer, decides, around 1787, to build a house in a historic part of Le Havre . In 1802, Pierre-Martin Foache, a wealthy trader, buys the house for a winter family home and business offices. For interior decoration he then calls architect Pierre-Adrien Pâris, previously draughtsman for the King’s advisers. The façade is typical Louis XVI style and the inside is meticulously neat. Rare and exotic wood parquet floors can be seen, as well as paved floors in geometric designs.  Impossible to forget the unusual lay-out: five storeys of rooms going round an octagonal vertical light shaft. This building is a listed French Historic Monument.


Musée Maison de l’Armateur – 3, quai de l’Ile – Tél: 02 35 19 09 85 or 02 35 42 27 90
Open everyday 11H to 12H30 and 13H30 to 18H, except Wednesdays 14H to 18H.
Closed Tuesdays, January 1st, May 1st and 8th, July 14th, November 11th and December 25th.


Façade of the Ship Owner's Mansion, when lit.
Façade of the Ship Owner's Mansion.
Inside the Ship Owner's Mansion.
The well of light within the Ship Owner's Mansion.
Inside the Ship Owner's Mansion, architectural masterpiece of the XVIIIth century.