Le Havre, World Heritage Site

The Perrey District seen from a height.

The Southern Sea Front

From their window, the flat owners have a view in a thousand over the harbor and cruise ships from the world over. This monumental housing scheme was started building in 1951 and finished in 1956. 500 metres long, it follows “Le Grand Quai”, the main quayside.

1127 Council Flats (cheap rent housing) were thought up and built as an experimental project by Pierre Edouard Lambert, who belonged to the Perret Studio. A group of four storey buildings stands between two 10 storey towers. The projects follows the Perret tenets: square blocks opening onto a courtyard, grading of streets, alleys and inner courtyards, elements of building structure exposed to the view, and treatment of concrete: washed, bush-hammered or straight out of formworks.

The grid in question

“The Southern Sea Front, placed where the two grids of the Reconstruction meet, is an extension of the secondary grid of the Perrey district and stands at the end of the main grid (that covers most of the city centre). This disposition recreates the former lay-out, where the sea front was perpendicular to the boulevard François 1er and parallel to “la côte”, the hill running along the northern side of the town.  Almost entirely a housing scheme, it runs along Quai de Southampton and Quai John Kennedy (ex Quai Clémenceau). It closely borders the sea (taking into account the limits set by port rules). Lambert designed low buildings with recesses (four storey high) punctuated by two square based towers (eleven storeys high) symmetrically placed on both sides of Rue de Paris.  More buildings of the same height stand at the back, thus creating open courtyards (blocks N23, N37, N40, N42, N43). In places, lower two storey buildings  create a transition towards public space, such as can be found at the end of Rue de Paris and close to the Bassin du Roy, the King’s dock. The blocks are set up around twelve courtyards. In some of the blocks, shops occupy the ground floor”.

Joseph Abram, Le Havre Unesco application file – December 2005.

New quayside in 2017

The City Council and the Greater Port Authorities or HAROPA (Joint Ports of Havre/Rouen/Paris) are jointly considering development of this 12 hectare area, at present neglected, starting at the yachting harbor to finish at the fishing harbor. An estimate of over 20 million euros has already been made and work entrusted to landscape architect Michel Desvigne, in association with Inessa Hansch (architect), Yann Kersalé (lights) and technical project study bureau ARTELIA. Their aim is to make the site attractive and give people easier access to it. This should be achieved by 2017, in time for celebrating the 500th Anniversary of the city.


slide show at the bottom of the page



Southampton quay seen form the Harbour Master's Office.
The Perrey distriçct next to the André Malraux Museum (MuMa).
Perret housing blocks in the Perrey district.