The Sea Festival of Le Havre is a traditional event which takes place every year early September, in St François, the historic area of Le Havre which is adjacent to the fishers’ port and fish market within walking distance from the Cruise Terminal. The 2013 edition saw an even greater success than usually thanks to the simultaneous presence of three cruise ships on each day: on September 7th,MSC Magnifica, Celebrity Infinity and Thomson Spirit and on September 8th, Celebrity Infinity for the second day, Ocean Princess and Grand Mistral. Thanks to the organization led by the Sea Festival Committee in partnership with the Cruise Department, the passengers and crew members were invited in large numbers to attend this friendly and popular event.
Music bands, exhibitions, marine antiques and flea market, sports events, free museums visits and painting exhibition composed the program. Some highlights were the Saturday night open-air party and fireworks as well as the Sunday Morning mass and sea-blessing procession in the inner-harbor. For the seafarers it was exceptional opportunity to share a fervent moment with the local people. The mass took place in St Joseph, a masterpiece by the great architect Auguste Perret, bathed in light and decorated with marine pavilions marine Le Havre and its community paid tribute to the men of the sea.
In the presence of civil and military maritime authorities, the Deputy Mayor of Le Havre, the Captain of the Grand Mistral, accompanied by a delegation of members of his staff and crew, the Bishop of Le Havre celebrated a very nice office. A young woman, crew member of the Grand Mistral read the second reading and the universal prayer. This moment of the office highlighted the brotherhood between Le Havre, the maritime community and the sailors.
At the end of the celebration, a part of the audience followed on board different ships while officials joined a tug in the outer harbor to conduct the traditional blessing of the sea. Some sailors of the Grand Mistral, and the Captain himself followed the procession onboard a decorated lifeboat. The sun was also of the party and a large crowd attended from the wharf to see the ballet of fishing boats, sailboats, tall ships, tugs and patrol ship of the National Navy.