An armada of ships in Rouen

Belem © Armada
A must see event for ship enthusiasts, the Armada is held every four years in Rouen. During this 6th edition, tourists will be able to admire and visit at least forty-five modern and ancient ships. Numerous concerts and activities are also on the agenda.

[ Practical ]

Getting there
- By road
130 km from Paris on autoroutes A14, A13 then on N15
- By train
Intercités train from Paris Saint Lazare to Rouen. The journey takes 1 h 10 to 1 h 30
Hotel Mercure Centre
Best Western Hôtel du Vieux Marché
Hôtel de Dieppe
Hôtel Le Cardinal
Hôtel La Cathédrale
La Couronnne
La Marmite
Le Quatre Saisons
Opening hours of the Armada
Every day from 10am to 2am, till 3pm only on June 16th
- Normandy Tourist Office :
- Seine Maritime Tourist Office : 0235121010,
- Rouen Tourist Office : 0232084240,
- Armada 2013 : 0235892003
From June 5th to 16th, Rouen will be the centre of the world for people fond of sailing ships as the city will welcome dozens of them coming from all over the world. Forty-five tall ships, war ships and yachts are expected and they will moor in the heart of the city, along the quays of the Seine River where entertainments, leisure activities, theme villages, bars and restaurants will come one after the other. An area where people will have free access, as to the ships that will be for most of them open to the public. It will be even possible to have lunch aboard some of them.

Armada © Armada
 Concerts and fireworks
Besides, from June 8th to 15th, free concerts will be given on the quays every day at 9pm with fireworks afterwards. Madness, the Rouen Opera & Bootleg Beatles, Pony Pony Run Run, Amadou & Mariam, BB Brunes and Nolwenn Leroy are some of the bands and artists on the agenda. On Saturday 15th, there will be also a 7 km long great jog named “Footing des Marins” along the banks of the river.
The Armada will start on the afternoon of June 5th with “La Grande Pagaille” (The Fleet of Follies) a UFO's (unidentified floating objects) competition bringing together fancy unusual watercraft that cross the Seine River.
Ships participating in this year edition will arrive the same day or the next one, always between 9pm and 6pm in order to not disrupt the traffic in the city as they must pass under the Gustave Flaubert Bridge, Europe's tallest vertical lifting bridge.
Several of these ships are remarkable. The Cisne Blanco a 76 m long three-masted barque that is the training ship of the Brazilian navy. She was built on the occasion of the country discovery’s 500th anniversary.

Cuauthémoc © Armada
 Tall ships
The Mir, 108 m long, a Russian square-rigged three-master that is the flagship of the Saint-Petersburg academy. She can take on board 114 cadets for training. The Cuauhtemoc, 90 m long, a Mexican three-masted barque serving as training ship. She made in 1990 a round-the-world trip, sailing 26,000 nautical miles in 180 days. The Tenacious, 65 m long, launched in February 2000, the largest wooden three-masted barque, that is designed to welcome on board handicapped passengers. The Dar Mlodzlezy a three-masted clipper launched in 1981, a Polish sailing training ship whose building was initiated by young people of the Gdansk region that is now a training ship for the cadets of the Merchant Navy School. The Kruzenshtern, 114 m long, the world second largest tall ship, a merchant vessel built in Germany in 1926, given to Russia after the Second World War and now used as training ship. The Stadt Amsterdam, a Dutch steel hulled three-masted clipper launched in 2000. The Belem, a French three-masted training barque launched in 1896 and listed as a historic monument since 1984.

Monge © Armada
The four-masted Portuguese ship Santa Maria Manuela, a training vessel that was launched in 1937. She used to take part in the cod fishing campaigns until the beginning of the 1990s. The Mercedes, 50 m long, a Dutch brick launched in 2005 that can host up to 130 passengers.
Mythic yachts and offshore racing boats will be also on display. In particular Pen Duick ships once owned and designed by Eric Tabarly, French most successful yachtsman, who won several ocean races.
There will be modern war ships as well. The Monge, a Test and Measurement Vessel (BEM) serving in the French Navy since 1992 whose missions are to monitor nuclear and ballistic missiles, to track and measure rocket trajectories and to track satellites. The HMS Blyth, a Sandown-class mine hunter of the British Royal Navy. The Skjold, a Norwegian patrol vessel launched in 1999 that is a marvel of technology made out of glass fibre and carbon.

Dar Mlodzlezy © Armada
 Grand Parade
Small boats will also offer to visitors dinner cruises as well as short trips allowing them to go around the sailing ships to admire them from all angles as well as dinner cruises.
As for the sailors coming from 12 countries composing the crews, they will be honored on June 12th with an afternoon parade through the city.
As usual, the highlight of the Armada will be the Grand Parade that will take place on June 16th. On that day all sailing ships will leave Rouen, passing under the Gustave Flaubert bridge during day time, then they will follow the Seine till its estuary, near Honfleur and Le Havre. They will need 8 hours to cover the 120 km that separate Rouen to the sea offering a magnificent show to the spectators lining up on the river banks. Last but not the least, the French Air Force aerobatic team, the Patrouille de France, will fly over the Seine River during this final Grand Parade.

May 01, 2013
Thierry Joly