Mayor Bill Martin welcomed Christophe Buzzacaro, a diplomat from the city of Le Havre, France, to Havre de Grace Wednesday afternoon and took him on a tour of the city, whose name is linked with LeHavre's.
During the tour, which included the recently restored Oper House, the two men exchanged greetings and gifts, with Buzzacaro representing LeHavre Mayor Luc Lemonnier, who took office this spring after then-mayor Édouard Philippe was appointed French prime minister by newly elected President Emmanuel Macron.
"The City of Havre de Grace would like to thank Mr. Buzzacaro and the City of Le Havre for their generosity today and look forward to working with them in the future," the city of Havre de Grace said in a statement. "The Martin administration believes today's visit marked the beginning of a culture and diplomatic relationship with the city of Le Havre, France."
Martin was accompanied on the city tour by his wife, Taryn, Council President David Glenn, interpreter Wanda Boker and city staff. Buzzacaro was accompanied by his wife, Melanie, his daughter and a friend of the Buzzacaro family.
Historians believe Havre de Grace, originally called Lower Susquehanna or Lower Susquehanna Ferry, is named after LeHavre, which some credit going to the Marquis de Lafayette, the Frenchman who raised an army to aid the colonials in the American Revolutionary War.
Writing earlier this year about Lafayette's relationship with his hometown, former Havre de Grace mayor and Harford County executive David Craig explained: "Prior to 1781 [Havre de Grace] was known as Lower Susquehanna. It was not a municipality. Then, a French army traveled through and camped here on their way to the future battle at Yorktown, Va."
"While [that army] was here, local residents suggested that the place be renamed to Havre de Grace since many people had told them that it looked like Le Havre, France," Craig wrote. "The French officers agreed and presented the idea to Lafayette and he agreed and was given the credit for the official suggestion. When the place was charted in 1785, becoming the second official municipality in Maryland with continuous existence, it was named 'Havre de Grace."