Grapes at Domaine Leduc-Frouin

ripening grapes in the Loire

ripening grapes in the Loire

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Portsmouth – Le Havre Ferries

There  looks to be some healthy competition on the western cross-channel crossing from Portsmouth – Le Havre, when

Brittany Ferries
DFDS Ferries

go head to head. Since P&O Ferries pulled out of this route a few years ago, competition has been lacking – with the only other alternatives being the short-sea crossing from Dover – Calais or Brittany Ferries’ longer crossings to Caen or St Malo or Roscoff further west. Beyond the obvious advantages for those living in the South or SouthWest of England, this is also an attractive route for travellers to or from the Midlands and North, as it avoids London and the  M25, whilst the A43 and A34 south from the M1 at Northampton via Oxford is, despite not being a motorway, dual carriageway most of its length and generally less busy – although the Oxford By-Pass (A34) can cause a few delays on rush hour. On the French side, Le Havre is about 2 hours from Paris on the A13 – or if you are heading to the southwest you can avoid Paris altogether! It is a few years since I have been in Le Havre, and never particularly liked the often “brutalist” post-war architecture  – but maybe I am wrong – as….

Malraux Museum in le HavreIn July 2005, UNESCO added the Le Havre city centre, rebuilt by Augunesco logouste Perret, to its World Heritage List. Perret was a major 20th century architect and a “poet in concrete” who was both traditionalist and innovative in his approach. He successfully rose to the challenge before him, seeking inspiration in architectural tradition and drawing on his own strong desire for modernisation to reinvent a unique, open city centre that is harmonious and resolutely innovative across an area of 133 hectares. Le Havre city centre is the first 20th century urban settlement in Europe to be added to the World Heritage List.

Le Havre and Normandy is also worth visiting especially in 2016 for the Normandie Impressioniste Festival (16 April – 26 September 2016), and the delights of Rouen are within easy reach!

Brittany Ferries   DFDS Ferries Best rates for hotels in Le Havre

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