Le Havre became a major industrial town in the 19th century, with a port to handle maritime trading in commodities (cotton, coffee, spices, exotic wood) as well as passenger transportation at a time when transatlantic travel was booming. Le Havre’s heritage comes from its deeply-rooted history as a maritime hub and port, and it recounts the epic tale of an urban feat achieved by renowned architects: Bellarmato, Thibault, Lamandé, Perret, Niemeyer, Reichen & Robert, and of course Jean Nouvel.
Le Havre’s town centre was the first reconstructed site (urban ensemble from the 20th century) to join UNESCO’s list of World Heritage sites. Perret was a hugely important architect in the 20th century, known as the “poet of concrete” and an architectural visionary. He successfully recreated a town that had been devastated during the Second World War, reinventing a unique city on the foundations of openness and light. Le Havre’s architecture emphasises natural light, the same distinctive light that inspired Claude Monet when he painted his Impression, Sunrise in Le Havre in 1872. The painting is credited with inspiring the name of the Impressionist movement.
Le Havre and football: a long-lasting passion
Several international players first began their careers playing with the HAC (Havre Athletic Club), including Paul Pogba, Ibrahim Ba, Jean-Alain Boumsong, Vikash Dhorasoo, Lassana Diarra and Steve Mandanda. The HAC currently plays in France’s second division. Meanwhile, Le Havre has since 2012 been involved in the FFF’s (Fédération Française de Football) drive to draw more women into football. Football has become truly popular among the women of Le Havre, with the number of female football players jumping by around 80% in the space of 5 years.
Allez les Bleues !
The Women’s World Cup will be held in France from 7th June to 7th July 2019, and Le Havre will host 7 of the tournament’s matches. We hope the number 7 will indeed bring the French players good luck. According to FIFA’s 2018 classification, France ranks 4th, behind the USA, Germany and England. So France has every reason to hope for success in this tournament!
The matches will be played at the Stade Océane, a stadium inaugurated in 2012. It was built on the principle of ‘English’-style’ stadiums and has seating capacity for over 25,000 spectators, making it the biggest stadium in Normandy. It has 1,500 m2 of solar panels and can therefore claim to be France’s first energy-positive stadium, i.e. it produces more energy than it uses.
A great atmosphere is guaranteed, with plans for an entertainment village and a fan zone with a giant screen. You might even bump into the mascot, Ettie (Footix’s daughter), named after the French word for ‘star’ (étoile). We can only hope that France’s female players will also become the big stars of the tournament!