The reconstruction of Upper Normandy: a tale of two cities
The industrial ports of the lower Seine valley experienced serious destruction at every stage of World War II. One-tenth of all the dwellings destroyed during the war had been located in Seine-Inferieure, with inner districts of Rouen and Le Havre and many smaller towns being reduced to ruins. Removal of mines and debris was followed by the installation of temporary accommodation, some of which still survives. The master plan for the reconstruction of Rouen, devised by Jacques Greber and mediated by the wishes of the city's businessmen, combined a respect for traditional structures around the cathedral on the right bank of the Seine with striking modernism on the left bank. Auguste Perret's plan for Le Havre produced a thoroughly modern townscape of wide streets and apartment blocks, which evoked the main outline of the previous street plan. Almost half a century following their reconstruction, the inner districts of Rouen and Le Havre serve as powerful in the history of W orld W ar II lieux de memoire and in the recovery and modernization of Europe.
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