TSS: Themes in My Reading – Le Havre

Hello! My Sunday Salon is very late this week, because I’ve been gone for the past 36 hours, we were down in Indianapolis for my grandma’s surprise birthday party. It was lots of fun and Daniel was a big hit.

What I really wanted to talk to you all about, though, is something that popped up in my reading a whole lot this week: Le Havre, France. I have never before heard of La Havre, but it popped up in THREE different books I was reading this week.

First, it was the home of Claude Monet and his family before he left his father and siblings to go to Paris and pursue his art in “Claude and Camille.”

Then, I was following Madame Leon Grandin and her husband from France to Chicago for the World’s Fair in “A Parisienne in Chicago,” her travelogue.

That it was in those two books was strange enough, but once I finished those, I thought I was done with Le Havre. Imagine my surprise when I started the audio of “My Life in France” and Julia and Paul Child voyaged from the United States to France by way of Le Havre as well.

That many instances in so few days and I had to learn something about the place! Here are some highlights from Wikipedia:

  • Founded in 1517 by King Francis I, originally called Franciscopolis in his honor (thank goodness they changed the name!)
  • Le Havre literally means ‘the harbor’ in French, which explains why Madame Leon Grandin and Julia Child both traveled through there on ship.
  • 12th largest city in France
  • The city was destroyed by the Germans during WWII and rebuilt in the modernist style, then declared a World Heritage Site in 2005.

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8 comments to TSS: Themes in My Reading – Le Havre

  • I dont know much about the coincidence but the two books look absolutely riveting.

  • I think that means you’re supposed to take a trip to Le Havre! I bet the birthday party was loads of fun!

  • Last week I had a coincidence also. On the same day, in two different books, there was reference made to the story of St. Lucy gouging her eyes out. I had never heard of this poor Saint, and to hear of her twice in the same day was wierd, so wierd that I told my whole family (the 8 year old thought it was gross). The first was in Arcadia Falls, and then I was listening to Full of Grace later that afternoon and bam, there it was again. I have had other coincidences before, mute kids, brain tumors, book settings, but never something so obscure. I hope this dooesn’t mean I am going to gouge my eyes out.

  • I loved My Life In France and Claude and Camille is on my wish list. Now I have another book to add!

  • So very weird! I love finding coincidences in books like that though — I think it makes them fun. I read a couple books recently that talked about poisoned alcohol during Prohibition, which I hadn’t heard much about either.

  • CLM

    Le Havre is also mentioned relatively frequently in Georgette Heyer as characters flee to France or try to return.

  • Aren’t coincidences like that fun?