16 june 2017
A summer in Le Havre: the arty 500th anniversary of the Normandy port!
This summer hot spot? No, it’s not Saint-Tropez, Portofino or San Diego. It is in Le Havre that you must go and participate in the arty summer event! Does the idea seem absurd to you? Yes, it’s true, but that’s what’s interesting!
In 2017, the city founded by François 1er 500 years ago celebrates its birth with a big event. “A Summer in le Havre” project was launched on May 27th with a large parade in the streets of the Normandy city. And until October 8th, 2017, we go there to discover the many works of contemporary artists created in situ for the occasion. Everything under the guidance of the famous Jean Blaise, the father of the Journey to Nantes, who mobilized all his creativity to propose four urban courses.
Classified as Unesco World Heritage for its avant-garde concrete architecture by Auguste Perret, Le Havre is a city where architects express themselves freely, as evidenced by the magnificent Oscar Niemeyer Volcano. In the context of A summer in the harbor, we wander in this unique city in search of the new monumental works that are crisscrossed here and there. A unique arty ride to reach within two hours by train from the Saint-Lazare train station.
Yes, Le Havre is also the closest beach to Paris!
All information about Un été au Havre here: www.uneteauhavre2017.fr
Among the most spectacular works of the itinerary, Vincent Ganivet’s “Caten of Containers”, which sits on the quays of the old harbour, imposes itself from the start. These are two monumental arches made up of these containers that sail the seas of the world aboard immense ships. A tribute to the globalized trade that has kept Le Havre alive for centuries. Two arches over 20 meters high, colored and impressive, visible from the heart of the city. Two arches which have already become the “selfie” spot of Le Havre and which will heavily mark the image of the city. It’s just magical and magnetic. Difficult to get away from this monument that attracts you like a multicolored magnet. It is also one of the rare works that should be perennial and stay installed at the end of A summer in Le Havre.
Another spot of “A summer in Le Havre”, the white structure of Lang & Baumann stranded on the beach of Le Havre. Named UP # 3, this work anchored in the pebbles is the other perfect frame for Instagram. It is visible from the avenue Foch, the largest avenue in France (before the Champs-Elysées, yes!) that serves the heart of the city Perret. Like a mirage that calls the city dwellers to leave the city to reach the beach. Initially, UP # 3 was to be perched on top of one of the two buildings of the Océane Gate. But for technical reasons, it was installed on the beach. The design thus invested the seaside and attracts the curious ones who come to tan. It’s hypnotic, especially at sunsets that are glowing like nowhere else than here. But do not forget the other seaside resort: the beach huts that Karel Martens decorated with colored stripes. A small revolution for the havrais who cherish their beach cabins usually white … It is thus unpublished to see them henceforth adorned with colorful stripes resulting from an algorithm that transformed this place in a kind of “giant barcode” …
Besides these two monumental works, there are a multitude of proposals, less imposing, but equally exceptional. This is the case of the work by the Japanese artist Chiharu Shiota, who unfurled a red woolen tourbillon in the tower of Saint Joseph’s Church, a real iconic concrete lighthouse in Le Havre. Julien Berthier installed a giant rear-view mirror on the roof of Le Havre train station. Enough to take a last look at the skyline of the city before leaving. In the Vauban pool, his “love love” catches passers-by: is this boat sinking? Mystery, Mystery … Facing the Volcano, Stéphane Thidet unfurls an ark of water via two powerful jets that animate the pools. As for Alexandre Moronnoz, he installed his giant parabola in a more popular district of Le Havre, proof that this artistic journey is invading the whole city …
There is a lot to see all over town during a Summer in Le Havre. But you should absolutely stop at Muma, the museum of art of Le Havre, which is displaying, until August 20th, 2017 a great retrospective of Pierre & Gilles work. More than 80 of their colorful and kitsch portraits (studio shots in a decor and reworked in painting) are displayed, some in small beach huts identical to those found on the water’s edge, Gilles Being a native of Le Havre, a nod to his hometown. Do not miss the small cabinet of curiosities in which they reveal their love of objects collected here and there and their fascination for sailors. We could not expect more for the biggest harbour in France!