L’appel de l’océan | Starry Waters

Un poème de Clémence des Déserts et sa traduction par Paramveer Gupta | A poem by Clémence des Déserts and its twin poem by Paramveer Gupta

“Marine, navigation au clair de lune”, Claude Monet, 1864

L’appel de l’océan

La plage endormie luit

D’une douce noirceur

Rayonnant dans la nuit

De splendides couleurs.

Assise sur un rocher

De granit et de fer

Je contemple à mes pieds

L’assourdissante mer.

Et ni l’onde bleutée,

Ni le ciel orageux,

Ni le phare agressé

Par les flots tumultueux,

Ni même ce frais vent

Qui chante de très longs

Et séduisants chants

Ne me retiendront.

Mes ailes vont s’ouvrir.

Je vois le soleil poindre,

Au loin comme pour dire:

«Vole, viens me rejoindre.»

Starry Waters

The beach reflects the darkness

Off the soft sand

Basking in the starry night

The colours of the delight

Sititing on the beach

I hear at my feet

The roaring sea

Calling something

Deep inside of me

The starry night

The sleepy cries

The hollow plights

The darkening lights

Nor the windy hollows

And the ricketing wallows

Shall keep my dreams shallow

I see the sun rise

And look into the sky

To see with my eyes

A prophecy for me to fly

What’s On Le Havre: September

Welcome to the first edition of What’s On LH for the new academic year. This monthly guide brought to you by the Bureau des Arts includes our top picks for art, music and culture au Havre.


Well worth the trip up the hill, the Tetris has a multi-medium exhibition on landscapes which is about to finish. Catch it before it’s gone! More.

WHERE: Le Tetris

WHEN: Until the 2nd

HOW MUCH: free

Né(e)s de l’écume et des rêves

Also finishing up soon is the temporary exhibition at MuMa. The eclectic collection revolving around the ocean is an interesting complement to the permanent exhibits, which are well worth visiting for newcomers. More.


WHEN: Until the 9th

HOW MUCH: free (for students)

Le Volcan: Open Door

Le Havre’s iconic theatre designed by Oscar Niemeyer will open its doors for two days to mark the beginning of the new season. A worthwhile behind the scenes look at an amazing building, and a thriving artistic hub. More.

WHERE: Le Volcan

WHEN: 15th and 16th

Ouest Park Festival

Le Havre’s very own summer music festival is nearly upon us, and with a great international lineup with names such as: Boys Noize, Romeo Elvis, The Brian Jonestown Massacre and Therapie Taxi, and many more. This isn’t one to miss! More.

WHERE: Fort de Tourneville

WHEN: 21 – 23rd

HOW MUCH: €26 per day (students), free on the last day.

There are a lot of public art installations as part of Un Été au Havre. Take a visit to the beach, or up the hill to the Jardins Suspendus to catch a few before they’re gone.

Some of our favourites are:


Unmissable and instantly iconic, our favourite abstract monument is back for another year. It can’t be missed on the centre of the beach. More.

À l’origine

Just a stone’s throw away you will find an impressive six metre sculpture by Fabien Mérelle. A man carrying the symbolically immense burden of an elephant on his back. More.

Jusqu’au Bout du monde

All the way at the end of beach at the Bout du monde, you will find another larger than life work by Fabien Mérelle, of a father and daughter looking out into the unknown. More.

Futuro House

A rare retro-futuristic house has descended on Le Havre, an interesting piece of architectural history worth visiting in the Jardins Suspendus before it’s gone. More.

Most of the public art will stay until the 23rd.

Hôtel de Ville du Havre, symbole de la reconstruction

Where better to hold an exhibition about the Hôtel de Ville du Havre than the Hôtel de Ville du Havre. A worthwhile history lesson about the symbolism of the building in the post-war reconstruction of the city. More.

WHERE: Hôtel de Ville

WHEN: Until the 23rd

Les Passagers du Son (2)

While you’re at the Hôtel de Ville, take yourself on an immersive auditory experience and discover the building through this spatial art installation. More.

WHERE: Hôtel de Ville

WHEN: Until the 23rd

Vélo Tour

Take a bike trip all around the city, as well as through some of Le Havre’s notable building. A great opportunity to discover the city and all for a good cause! More.

WHERE: All over LH! (starting at the Jardin Fluvial)

WHEN: The 30th


Pailey Wang is an Australian second year student at Sciences Po Paris Campus du Havre, and one of the editors-in-chief at Le Dragon. He majors in Politics and Government, and is also the incumbent Public Relations Officer of the Bureau des Arts.

“Transition Energétiques”: A Class Trip to the EDF Coal Plant of Le Havre

(c. Vincent Rustuel)

What is to be found at the foot of the far away EDF towers?

On the 16th of April, Roland Lehoucq’s class on energy politics and the move towards renewable energy, entitled “Transition Energétiques”, along with some energy amateurs who joined the excursion via Sciences Po’s newly formed Environmental Association, visited EDF’s coal-fired power plant in Le Havre’s industrial port.


In the hallway ,excited students are met with M. Lehoucq and M. Fertey to catch the bus headed to the industrial area. Fifteen minutes later, under timid sun rays, the group wanders around empty gravel streets to finally find the entrance to the plant area.


The group is welcomed by Malvina Devarieux, public relations assistant, who explains the history and functioning of the plant in a small conference room. Created in 1946, EDF played an important role in France’s reconstruction after the war and contributed to its later industrialization. Today, the company is the leading electricity producer in France. In 2014, of the energy produced, 87,8% was nuclear, 9,9% renewable, and 2,3% thermal.

Due to its relative flexibility, the thermal park is used to respond to the variations in consumption. Sometimes, important amounts of electricity have to be provided within a short period of time in order to satisfy the daily demand peak or to respond to a seasonal change. Devarieux explains, “A fall of one degree Celsius in mid-winter is equal to a rise of 7% of electricity demand”. Here, Le Havre’s coal plant has another special advantage on the French electricity market. Thanks to its portal location, it has direct it access to the coal cargo, bypassing costly and time-intensive transportation.

EDF also invests in innovation. Together with Alstom, ADEME and Dow Chemical, a Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) experiment was conducted on the site of Le Havre and its sister plant in Cordemais. Reaching an overall efficiency of 0,05% for the moment, Devarieux points out that “there are still improvements to be made, but luckily there are also many other laboratories around the world.”


Students are standing in the coal park, built in 1983, where unit 4 of the power plant – with 600 MW of installed power capacity – is the only one functioning today. Two years ago measures have been taken to make it more efficient and durable: an important modernization of the complex was completed, taking 220 millions of investment. This large financial effort is in stark contrast with the recent decision of the government to close the plant, in order to assure France’s transition towards clean energy. The tour-guide, Sebastien Bertin, points out a key difficulty in energy policy, “the industry is not able to adapt to quick political shifts, as we are not on the same timeline that industrial projects are working on, which is 10 to 15 years.”


In a vast dark and chilly hall the group discovers the boiler. It is suspended in the air. Underneath, a yellow crab-like machine serves as a recipient of the excess coal falling down. “Back in the days, everything used to be black here, coal was laying around everywhere, and the machine was incredibly loud.”, explains Bertin. Even though on that day the plant wasn’t performing at its top capacity, the many earplug distributors indicate that the noise remains a necessary byproduct of heavy machinery.


At the upper floor, 12 meters higher, under the roof letting trough some water drops here and there, the group walks along boiler, turbine, and alternator on indicated pathways, listening to the commentaries of the guide.

Second floor of the coal-fired power plant (France 3)


In the very back of the upper area, behind a heavy door and thick blinds, lays the command room of the plant. “This is the very heart and brains of the plant – the cockpit of the boat, and the people you see working are the captains.” whispers Bertin. The students, fascinated by the many screens, buttons, and phones, inquire after function of every one of them. Learning that the operator (“chef de projet”) is responsible for electricity production sui generis, maneuvering the burners in the boilers for optimal combustion and controlling the good functioning of the entire plant. Assisted by a team of patrols who report everything going on in the different parts of the plant, serving as his eyes and ears around the facility. “In case of emergency, it is the operator who has to stay until the plant is shut down, even at the risk of his own life. Without him the plant doesn’t work.”, Bertin says. “The biggest danger is a “puff”, an explosion in the boiler, which would affect the plant, but not endanger the surroundings. Such a case occurred once in the history of the ‘Havrais’ plant: “They stayed in the smoke, helped by the firemen with oxygen masks until the thing was shut down.”, narrates Bertin.


While walking back to the entrance, Bertin answers questions about the environmental matters connected to coal-fired electricity production. He explains the multi-step treatment process which has been added to the regular electricity production to clean the vapor of ashes and toxic particles. First, 80% of the contained azote oxides are washed out through a process called de-nitrification. Secondly, in the smog passes through a dust extractor, where electrostatic current removes 99% of the flying ashes. Finally, desulfurization, that is a “shower of water and chalk”, washes the smoke of fine particles as well as 90% of sulfur dioxide. The byproducts of this treatment process are recycled: the bigger ashes are used for road backfill, trench filling and the making sound breeze blocks. Flying ashes and particles are also utilized in the production of cement.

(dossier de presse EDF 2015)


The visit is over, “It was cool!”, concludes Roland Lehoucq capturing the general feeling. The students also appreciated the visit. “What surprised me the most was to learn about the strong relationship that can emerge between the machine and the men that are using them day for day over years.”, declares Laureen Calcat, “Another thing that I found interesting is the strong emotional attachment the Havrais have for their coal plant. Le Havre is historically an industrial city and the factory has become an integral part of its landscape. It is also in this idea of affirming the industrial identity of Le Havre that these chimneys were embellished by illuminations that make them shine during the night, like two industrial lights watching over the city. Le Havre would not be quite what it is without the two large chimneys that rise to the sky.

Tshin-Ilya Chardayre is a Franco – Austrian second year student, and an active member of the Environmental Association.

Le Havre – Sa richesse et ses mystères à l’honneur au MuMa

Comme une histoire … Le Havre : plus que deux semaines avant la fin de cette exposition phare.

Du 25 Novembre au 18 Mars 2018, Le MuMa conte l’histoire de la lumineuse ville du Havre, ville portuaire atypique, source d’inspiration pour de nombreux artistes, du peintre Eugène Boudin au réalisateur Aki Kaurismäki. Depuis 50 ans, le Havre fait également l’objet de nombreuses commandes photographiques publiques. Après 15 années de collecte, pendant lesquelles ont été acquises 350 photographies et vidéos, le MuMa réalise aujourd’hui une exposition à partir de quelques œuvres choisies, offrant un regard plongeant au cœur de l’identité du Havre. L’exposition s’inscrit dans le cadre du 500ème anniversaire de la naissance du Havre, et fait écho à l’exposition de la BnF Paysage Français qui a présenté 30 ans de missions photographiques à travers la France de 1984 à 2017.

« C’est la première fois que je viens au Havre, et j’avais l’image d’une ville triste et industrielle en tête. Cette exposition me fait porter un regard différent sur la ville. Son univers, c’est comme dans un conte mystérieux » commente Isabelle Garnier, touriste dijonnaise, à la sortie de l’exposition. C’est en effet un regard croisé sur le Havre que nous propose cette exposition. Les 17 artistes, originaires de multiples cultures, nous livrent leur ressenti à travers différents supports et installations, depuis les nombreuses photographies en couleur ou en noir et blanc, jusqu’aux vidéos proposant de trépidantes promenades dans les rues du Havre.

En entrant dans le musée, on se trouve face à d’immenses immeubles, fusains majestueux d’Yves Bélorgey, qui s’imposent au visiteur, mais que l’on prend pour des photographies : les repères sont brouillés dès le début. Juste à côté, on doit se pencher sur des petits formats graphiques, photographies de Lucien Hervé, photographe du Corbusier … alors on en saisit toute l’humanité. Et c’est ainsi tout au long de l’exposition que s’entremêlent jeux d’ombres et de lumières, lignes droites et courbes : on s’y laisse surprendre avec plaisir.

Yves BELORGEY Les Points Carinaux Quartier de Bléville, Le Havre 2015 Huile sur toile.

C’est en réalité une véritable histoire qui est ici relatée, celle du quotidien des Havrais, histoires individuelles dans des lieux de vie qui se construisent et se transforment. Pour Véronique Ellena, photographe et plasticienne française, le travail du photographe est intimement lié au vécu des habitants : « Pour réussir à connaître la ville, j’ai beaucoup rencontré de gens. Ils aimaient leur ville, ils en étaient fiers. Tout ce temps de prise de vue donne une photographie particulière ». De la même façon, le travail en noir et blanc d’Olivier Mériel repose sur les petits rien qui font du Havre un univers particulier. « Ce que je voulais c’était créer l’envers du décor du Havre, c’est à dire ne pas aller sur les lieux usités et connues, c’est un peu le Havre secret disons » Ainsi, une volée de marches d’escalier, une tête d’animal à l’entrée des abattoirs prennent dans cette exposition une signification nouvelle et placent le visiteur dans la pièce de théâtre de la vie au Havre.

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Maud is a French second year student who wrote this piece for her class “Ecrire le Réel”.