The port city of Le Havre was devastated in 1944 during the Battle of Normandy. 5,000 people were killed and over 12,000 homes destroyed, mainly by air attacks from the Allied forces. After the war, chief architect Auguste Perret rebuilt the city in the modernist style. In memoriam to the five thousand civilians who died in the conflict, St. Joseph’s Church is one of the most recognizable symbols of the town, built of concrete between 1951 and 1957. Its bell tower is 107 meters tall and acts as a beacon visible from out at sea, especially when it is illuminated at night.
The Neo-Gothic interior of the church is monumental and impressive: the square plan contains four clusters of four square pillars supporting the lantern.
Stained-glass windows in the lantern and in the walls cast a kaleidoscope of colored lights that vary throughout the day.