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Le Havre Cruise Port Decoded

Updated: 4 days ago

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Quite possibly one of the busiest harbors in France, Le Havre is home to the embarking and disembarking Brittany Ferry fleet coming in and out of England regularly, as well as many cruise ships like the MSC Euribia, which I set sail with in December 2023.


If your cruise goes to Le Havre, set expectations well in advance that a visit to Le Havre port can be a long and arduous day. Many people have said to me, "oh I've got a port stop in Paris". Well...no you don't. Not really.


The distance from Le Havre to Paris is about 3 hours by car or public transport, meaning if you want to see Paris you will be on transport for 6 hours of your day. Keep this in mind as I review the many options for shore excursions within reach of Le Havre's port, below.



Understanding Le Havre (Paris Cruise Port)


With multiple options for where to go and what to do, this port will take some careful advanced planning. You'll be interested in seeing and doing it all from taking in the top sites in Normandy to gallavanting (quickly) through the Parisian neighborhoods like Montemarte.


It will be a whirlwind day, so I suggest you do your research and narrow down to one area.


Paris sacre cour

Where You'll Dock


To learn more about where you'll dock, check out the information page here.


The dock is spitting distance if you're a bird, but as a taxi or a bi-ped, unfortunately there's quite a meandering walk to get into town (more on that below).


Walking route directional sign


What To Do In Le Havre Port


You basically have to pick what means most to you. Have you seen Paris before? Skip it and see Normandy.


Have you seen Normandy? Skip that and visit Rouen, or perhaps artsy Etretat.


Not feeling super motivated? Stay close to port and explore quiet and modern Le Havre town itself.


Regardless of your options, you can't really just step off the ship without a plan. Below I illustrate the best general ideas to get you going on your adventures.



Port Destination: Paris


What to Do:

Take a ship tour or arrange one in advance through Viator for potential cost savings.



Port Destination: Rouen


What to Do:

Shop and wander, start at Place du Vieux Marche


Where to Eat:

Consider La Régalière for crepes and quaint timbered style surrounds, or perhaps La Petite Auberge for their escargot and cheese options, or lastly Le P'Tit Bec for traditional cuisine in a cozy timbered bistro.




Port Destination: Etretat


What to Do:

Visit the Jardin d'Etretat inspired by Claude Monet with views of the iconic cliffs, then head down to the old village


Where to Eat:

Eat at Hoa Binh for asian food and cute decor or La Flotille for open flame grill and big pots of mussels. Feeling like a crepe? Try Lann-bihoue for crepes.


Where to Shop:

Visit the small but very old Vieux Marche market stalls and cute streets. Pop into La Rose de Vents regional products store where you can stock up on supplies to bring snacks to the beach.



Port Destination: Honfleur


What to Do:

Visit the old church and stroll the streets


Where to Eat:

Eat at Brasserie de L'église by the old church or along the waterfront from mussels and drinks



Port Destination: Le Havre


What to Do:


Where to Shop:

Docks Vauban modern mall (35 minutes walking)



How To Get Around


Depending on your chosen activity for the day, you'll want to consider that getting around requires more than just stepping off the ship.



For Paris

Take the organized ship tour. This will guarantee you will arrive back in time for the ship's departure that evening. It's a long day, and too much could go wrong trying to get back to the ship in time.



For Rouen

Take the regional/local SNCF train. Tickets can be purchased online in advance here. Expect to spend about $10 each way, or $20 RT. The ship will offer an excursion for Rouen (simple bus transfer), but it will be upwards of $70 round trip. You choose what is easiest for you!


For Etretat

Consider a taxi or pre-arranged Viator tour.


For Honfleur


Waterfront view of boats and buildings in Honfleur

Consider a shuttle or taxi from the port. Read up a little bit on Honfleur and neighboring communities here.



For Le Havre

On foot is doable, but local taxis will be easiest. We found that the taxi line was very long with people disembarking and chose to go on foot into town.


The train station was about a 35 minute walk, and the local mall with a Primark and Lidl was also 35 minutes. There were many options for dining in town, mostly Asian cuisine.


Are you disembarking in Le Havre? Check out luggage storage options near you, should the need arise.



Last Thoughts


My best advice to any cruise ship passenger traveling through Le Havre is to keep in mind that travel time will easily eat through the majority of your day if you aren't careful. Be prepared with tours in advance, and ready for a full day.

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