France - - History Trail -

1 Port Musée

The Port Musée in Douarnenez in Fin­istère is a unique mu­seum with a quay­side area cov­er­ing more than 1,500m2. There are a num­ber of in­ter­est­ing boats you can board and ex­plore, from hum­ble fishing boats used for sar­dine fishing to the re­con­struc­tion of a dhow, an Ara­bian wooden sail­ing boat. There is even a plea­sure yacht, the Vi­viane, which dates back to the 1860s and is con­sid­ered the old­est boat of its kind in France. Place de l’en­fer, 29100 Douarnenez Tel: (Fr) 2 98 92 65 20

2 Cité de la Voile Éric Tabarly

A mu­seum ded­i­cated to one of France’s most cel­e­brated sailors, the Cité de la Voile takes vis­i­tors on a jour­ney across the seas. It boasts three hours of sail­ing and off­shore rac­ing dis­cov­ery, in­clud­ing an in­ter­ac­tive mu­seum space, tac­tile ac­tiv­i­ties rac­ing boat sim­u­la­tors and a 4D cin­ema. Take a guide of the out­door quay­side area and see Vendée Globe rac­ing yachts, maxi tri­marans and more, close up. Lori­ent La Base, 56323 Lori­ent Tel: (Fr) 2 97 65 56 56

3 L’hermione – French Frigate

The Hermione is a working replica of the mag­nif­i­cent frigate that took the Mar­quis de Lafayette across the At­lantic to join the Amer­i­cans in their fight for in­de­pen­dence in 1780. The ship was painstak­ingly recre­ated by ded­i­cated crafts­men, us­ing 2,000 French oak trees, 1,000 pul­leys and 2,200m2 of sail. The ship re­traced the wa­tery trail of the orig­i­nal in 2015, cross­ing the ocean and sail­ing to Bos­ton. Hermione sets sail ev­ery few years to tour near and far, but re­turns home to Rochefort, Char­ente, where vis­i­tors can ad­mire the ship up close and learn about this fas­ci­nat­ing labour of love. Arse­nal Mar­itime, Place Ami­ral Dupont, 17308 Rochefort Tel: (Fr) 5 46 82 07 07

4 Les Sables d’olonne

The Vendée Globe sets sail from here ev­ery four years and the town plays host to many other races, but Les Sables d’olonne has plenty of charms on dry land, too. Take a stroll around its cen­tral sweep­ing sandy bay and along the seafront, with hand­some build­ings on one side and the great blue ocean on the other, to breathe in the sea air in this sunny cor­ner of France. In the evenings, the prom­e­nade comes to life as the light dips and mu­si­cians and street en­ter­tain­ers come out to play. If you’re feel­ing ad­ven­tur­ous, test your sea legs by tak­ing a trip out on the bay in a sail­ing boat. Con­tact the Tourist Of­fice for de­tails. 1 Prom­e­nade du Maréchal Jof­fre, 85104 Les Sables d’olonne Tel: (Fr) 2 51 96 85 85 less­ables­

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