Port de plaisance Le Havre

Le Havre, the nautical city 

A real outdoor museum, a city whose design and architecture figure on the UNESCO world heritage list, an economic powerhouse, a major port and leading industrial centre, Le Havre is also one of the rare French cities that opens out entirely to the sea.

With the shoreline reaching the heart of the city, it is the  perfect sailing destination – with the riches of its waters in Seine Bay, its beach and marina – and is home to major sporting events involving sailing and extreme sports, including the Transat Jacques Vabre Normandie Le Havre, which this year will celebrate its thirtieth birthday. 


Over a mile of beaches with amenities 

From the ‘quai de Southampton’ down to a beach that is over a mile long, the sea front in Le Havre is a popular destination for locals and tourists. From March to September, it benefits from a wealth of restaurants, bars and leisure activity stores, as well as the opening of the Marine Baths and a centre on the beach, where it is possible to hire marine equipment: stand-up paddle, canoe, kayak, etc.

This exceptional and welcoming shoreline is also the place where sea sport enthusiasts get together to enjoy their leisure activity freely, such as windsurfing, kitesurfing or the very fashionable wingfoiling. 

The docks and marina in the heart of the city 

Proof of the maritime and port heritage, the sea docks in the heart of Le Havre are part of the urban landscape and offer an unusual prospect when you learn to sail or enjoy sailing. The Commercial Dock, the La Barre Dock and the river dock have become home to activities such as rowing, kayaking and kayak polo. More specifically, the Commercial Dock has become a playground for the 950 children signed up each year for sail school, and following in the footsteps of the famous sailor from Le Havre, Charlie Dalin, they can go out sailing for the first time on an Optimist in these waters. 

The Paul Vatine Dock, which links the city and harbour area is a place that sailors know about, as it is home to the start village for the Transat Jacques Vabre Normandie Le Havre. It is in fact located in the heart of an area that is constantly changing with the Vauban Docks shopping centre on one side and with a congress centre and several further education colleges within the Le Havre University campus, which offer training for activities linked to the sea, boating and marine tourism. 

Not far from there, the Eure and Vauban quays are given over partly to river and sea cruising and partly to a marina with 200 mooring rings in Port Vauban. With the main port just a stone’s throw from the beach, right next to the sailing clubs and the MuMa – The André Malraux modern art museum, no fewer than 1250 pleasure craft are registered in Le Havre.

© Werner Le Doaré

A wide range of marine activities 

The waters around Le Havre enable people to carry out many leisure activities throughout the year: trips out to sea aboard former fishing boats, sailboats and RIBs, initiation to boating, the discovery of the commercial harbour and the Bay, a chance to cross the Seine Estuary...

The three local sailing clubs, the SNPH - Sport Nautique et Plaisance du Havre, the CNH - Club Nautique Havrais, and the Société des Régates du Havre, are at the forefront offering a wide range of services welcoming all sorts of people, from beginners who are just learning to top class sailing competitors, including people with limited mobility. They contribute to the development of the sector by being involved in famous events, such as offering a first sailing experience in collaboration with the city of Le Havre during the Transat Jacques Vabre Normandie Le Havre. 

Hosting major events

A city that promises adventure, and is well known for its ability to host major events that are famous across France and around the world, Le Havre has co-organised the Transat Jacques Vabre Normandie Le Havre since it began back in 1993. Looking beyond ocean racing, it also hosts and supports national sailing events each year: Student sailing, Le Havre AllMer Cup, Normandie Cup. It was the start location for the 49th edition of the Solitaire du Figaro in 2018. 

With the label, “Playground” awarded for the Paris 2024 Olympics, the city of Le Havre in particular supports Camille Lecointre and Jérémie Mion, two skippers who are registered in Le Havre, and who are competing in the selection process for the first mixed crew sailing races in the 470 class in the Olympics. Le Havre is entering a new chapter in its sporting and maritime history.