Seaport city (pop., 1999: 190,905), northern France. It lies along the English Channel and the Seine River estuary, northwest of Paris. The second port of France after Marseille, it serves as a base for exports; it is also an important industrial centre. It was only a fishing village until 1517, when Francis I had a harbour built there. Enlarged and fortified in the 17th century under cardinal de Richelieu and Louis XIV, it was adapted to accommodate bigger vessels in the late 18th century. Most of the city was destroyed during World War II. Later rebuilt, the city's 17th-century church of Notre-Dame is one of the few surviving old buildings.
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