The Rouen Armada festival is held every five years – a fabulous occasion that draws millions to the river banks of the Seine right in the heart of the gorgeous city of Rouen, Janine Marsh reports on this truly amazing event… The Rouen Armada 2013: 6th – 16th June.
1986 was the 100th anniversary of the iconic Statue of Liberty crossing the Atlantic from France where it was designed by French sculptor Frédéric Bartholdito to it’s home on Liberty Island, New York.
What, you might think, has that to do with Rouen? Well, to celebrate this auspicious centenary a transatlantic race was held from Rouen to New York and this in turn inspired a tall ships festival to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the French Revolution in 1989.
The first Rouen Armada was incredibly successful but no one knew just how important it would become and today it is one of the largest and most important dates in the calendar of the seafaring world.
For ten days and nights, the whole city of Rouen beats to the rhythm of the Armada – concerts, firework displays, the most amazing tall ships in the world, war ships, helicopter carriers, submarines, barges and much more. You can even take a cruise on a ship – from a musical cruise to Honfleur, a tall ship cruise or a night time cruise to view the fireworks offshore.
This is what draws millions of visitors thronging to the quaysides of this ancient maritime city, the sights, scents and sounds of a truly magnificent spectacle the like of which it would be hard to see anywhere else in the world.
And what’s more – it is a totally free event.
Rouen Armada 2013 facts:
More than 50 of the biggest, best and most beautiful tall ships in the world will be in the port of Rouen and open to the public to visit for free.
12 nations will take part in the festival
8000 sailors will be in town and taking part in city parades – an awesome sight
Every night there will be concerts and firework displays.
Ten days and nights of nautical fun starting at 10.00 on Thursday June 6th – don’t miss the boats passing under the Pont Flaubert from 21.00. A burning wharf greets their arrival!
Sunday June 9, Mass of the Sailors in Avenue Pasteur
Wednesday June 12, sailors parade from the docks to the Town Hall (14.30 – 16.30) followed by a Madness concert
Friday, June 14 : Official opening of the installation of the anchor of Joan of Arc at the forefront of the Lacroix island 17.00; 21.00 Mika Concert
Sunday, June 16 : The Great Parade of the Seine along the meandering 120 km from Rouen to the estuary, flypast by the Patrouille de France.
At the end of the event , the river banks will be filled with people waving farewell to these majestic vessels and their crews as they parade down the river to the Seine estuary and out into the sea beyond.
Details of the full programme, timings and events from www.armada.org/en/