Rouen – Events – The Armada of Tall Sail Ships
Every five or six years, Rouen receives world’s tall ships, those sail ships with enormous masts often used by different country’s navy as training ship. Some 50 ships, not all of them sail ships since there are also a few modern warships, gather at the Rouen harbour and docks.
For some ten days, all the ships are docked and open to visits.
Some of the ships are old ones that have been restored.
And some are new, used often in movies like the Pirates of the Caribbean (not the ship one above)
The ships come from all over the world, not only from Europe, but also from Asia and South America. It’s interesting to walk along the quai and see all the different sailor uniforms and listen to all the languages being spoken.
The food served all around the harbour and docks area is international and readily available.
But not all the ships are tall ships, even sail ships:
This is a Russian warship, complete with helicopter.
When the warships move around the harbour, all hands are on the deck, in full dress uniform. Very impressive.
The Parade – The Must See Once In A Lifetime
Seeing all these ships is very interesting, especially if you can visit one of these. The atmosphere is joyful with all these sights and sounds.
BUT…. the most interesting day is the last day. That is the day all the boats set out for a 120 km trip on the Seine river from Rouen to the end of the river in Le Havre, a massive parade of ships.
All ships leave at an allotted time slot, but they all have different speeds. It can take a whole day to sail from Rouen to Le Havre for some of them.
The ships are fully manned and often the sailors are standing on the masts providing an incredible spectacle.
Alongside the riverbanks are amassed millions (yes, MILLIONS) of spectators. They will have scouted out their locations beforehand and arrived really early, often waiting for hours for the show to begin.
During the hours long parade of ships, jet fighters will fly over the Seine river adding to the show.
Next Armada is in 2019, starting 6th of June and the parade is on the 16th of June.
TIP: If you are going to come and see the exit, look for a good place beforehand. Ask the locals if you will be allowed to stay there for the parade (e.g. you are not allowed to stay on the bridges). And on the day itself, come early, really early to be able to find a parking space. One good place to be is Caudebec-en-Caux (where the photo above was taken).