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Armada of Rouen: major maritime festival in Normandy

Armada of Rouen: major maritime festival in Normandy

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From 8 to 18 June 2023, the Armada of Rouen will take place. This is the largest maritime festival in the world. Fifty large ships from all over the world will be moored along the seven-kilometre quay of the Seine in Rouen for 10 days. Visiting the Armada of Rouen is a unique opportunity to enrich your holiday in Normandy with a fantastic experience.

Armada of Rouen

The Armada of Rouen

Fifty sailing giants called tall ships from all over the world are sailing to Rouen. From 8 to 18 June, all the ships will be moored at the quayside of the Seine. You can visit the ships all for free during the festival. Many other events also take place in the city. The main ones include:

  • Seamen’s parade in the city centre
  • Running race for sailors
  • Boat trip with special vessels
  • Street performances
  • Concerts
  • Fireworks shows
  • Grand parade as a finale

The parade at the departure on the last day is a particular highlight. The ships sail away down the Seine on Sunday 18 June. Between Honfleur and Le Havre, they leave the river and set sail. Watching the ships leave is a wonderful sight. The crew climb into the rigging and wave exuberantly to the crowds. There are vantage points to watch the spectacle at several points along the route from Rouen.

The following video will give you a good idea of what the Rouen Armada is all about:

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2027: next Rouen Armada

Held every four years, the Rouen Armada is a unique international maritime event involving nearly 7,000 sailors from 30 countries. The spectacle is expected to attract around 6 million interested people. We are already looking forward to the event and will definitely visit the Rouen Armada. Then we will take the opportunity to get to know Rouen better as the city has plenty of interesting sights.

Armada of Rouen

Heights of Rouen

If you visit the Rouen Armada, it is definitely worth exploring the city itself. Though Rouen may not be super well known among tourists, it is definitely an atmospheric city full of things to see. It is also the city where Joan of Arc ended up burned at the stake. Several sights are naturally dedicated to this national heroine.

In the picturesque medieval centre, you walk along delightful, cobbled streets past one half-timbered house after another. You will enjoy picturesque paths, lovely squares and beautiful churches. One of the most popular streets is Rue de l’Horloge. There, on an archway, you will find a large clock, the ‘Gros Horloge’. It once hung at the top of the Belfry but it was easier for the inhabitants to see on the arch of the gate.

The most important church in Normandy is also in Rouen. That is the Notre-Dame cathedral. In fact, the church tower is the tallest in France. You cannot go to the top of the church tower but for a stunning view of the city, you can climb the Belfry. We will describe Rouen’s many highlights in an extensive blog later this year.

Rouen city centre

Ideas for a holiday in Normandy

Normandy is an ideal holiday destination if you like to be active or love culture and nature. The main attraction of the region is Mont Saint-Michel. The bay of the same name has a real ebb and flow to it. The tidal range is as much as 14 metres. This always attracts many visitors. But most tourists come to visit Mont Saint-Michel itself. They shuffle through the narrow streets on their way to the stately abbey that towers high above the island.

Normandy is best known for its coastline with large chalk cliffs. You can admire them best on the Côte d’Albatre, located between the towns of Le Havre and Le Tréport. The steep cliffs, some 100 metres high, form a rough transition between land and sea. The cliffs near Etretat are particularly good for pictures. For instance, the ‘Falaise d’Aval’ is one of the most photographed rocks in the region. Its shape looks very much like an elephant sticking its trunk into the water.


The D-Day invasion beaches are also located here. These are tangible evidence of one of the largest military operations in history. On 6 June 1944, Allied troops landed on the beaches of Normandy to defeat the Nazis. This took place under the name Operation Overlord. US troops tried to come ashore at Utah Beach and Omaha Beach, the British and Canadians at Gold, Juno and Sword Beach. The beaches have always retained their nickname. In 2024, it will be 80 years since this landing started the liberation of Europe. In the run-up to the 80-year commemoration, we will visit the invasion beaches and write a blog about them.

Memorial, D-Day, Normany, France