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“Not impressed with overpriced exhibit” 2 of 5 stars
Review of Association Hermione-La Fayette

Association Hermione-La Fayette
Arsenal maritime, BP 70177 Rochefort, France
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Ranked #3 of 11 attractions in Rochefort
Type: Specialty Museums
Attraction Details
Basildon, United Kingdom
16 reviews 16 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“Not impressed with overpriced exhibit”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed July 8, 2013

Perhaps we expected too much from our visit, having already visited Victory at Portsmouth and the dockyards at Chatham (with the impressive rope making building that is there). We found this to be a very expensive experience, which was not worth the detour to Rochefort. It would appear that there are sometimes demonstrations of sailmaking and metalworking, but not on the day we visited and the only part of the ship we were allowed access to was part of the upper deck. The woman in the tourist office told us that there was information available in English, for both the Hermione and the Corderie, but we found this to be lacking.

Visited June 2013
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142 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
Bexhill on Sea, East Sussex
Senior Contributor
41 reviews 41 reviews
14 attraction reviews
Reviews in 29 cities Reviews in 29 cities
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
“Not really impressed”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed June 18, 2013

We expected more. It is impressive that the ship was built by hand to attempt a true replica of the original but that is really all there is to say about it. Having seen the impressive Victory at Portsmouth, the Great Britain at Bristol, the Chatham Dockyards, etc. This naval experience in Rochefort was a real damp squid. And very expensive to boot! Unless you are a real historic-navy enthusiast this visit is just not worth the effort.

Visited May 2013
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Montjoi France
12 reviews 12 reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Franco-American history”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 10, 2013

A visit to the Hermione-La Fayette should be planned in advance as entry into the interior of the boat seems to be booked well in advance, especially on weekends. We were told that during summer vacation bookings are even more difficult. That said, if you are a history buff, visiting the historical perspective and the exterior of the boat are well worth the time. Be advised that the detailed explanantions are in French with a short summary in English. There is no English for the videos that are part of the exhibit.

The museum La Corderie Royale (right next to l'Hermione) was interesting. It presented a detailed explanation of how ropes were constructed from natural materials until early 20th century when metals took their place. A temporary museum on Polynesians and navigation with the stars was very superficial and uninformative...almost amateurish. Overall for l'Hermione and the museum, it is worth a detour!

Visited June 2013
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Rochefort, France
Top Contributor
67 reviews 67 reviews
5 attraction reviews
Reviews in 31 cities Reviews in 31 cities
48 helpful votes 48 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 12, 2013

Since 1997 the Arsenal has been carrying out a historic piece of boatbuilding: creating a near-replica of the frigate that carried Marquis la Fayette to America in 1780. As far as possible ancient techniques have been used and similar materials (eg oak timbers, forged iron) have been selected and used in the construction. All of the works have been - and are still - open to public viewing.

When in dry-dock, visits aboard were restricted. The boat is now in a floating dock. Masts and rigging are being fitted, whilst on-shore a blacksmith, sailmaker, rope-maker and other craftsmen can be seen at work from close up. All are, wherever possible, using old techniques and tools similar to 18th century ones. You can now board the vessel and not only view the high-quality, hand-made fittings, etc but appreciate her comparatively small size. NB physically disabled persons may find an onboard visit difficult (check first). It's a fascinating experience.

In 2014 sea-trials will begin, so she will be a little less accessible (check visiting possibilities with the Tourist Office). In 2015 (if all goes well) she will sail to Boston, USA.

I have visited many times over the years: I recommend you do so, too - soon, whilst you can.

Visited March 2013
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1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Exceptionally interesting and historic undertaking.”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 9, 2013 via mobile

Could not agree with "Rip Off" comment? My wife and I have travelled to France annually over the past number of years on vacation and have regularly visited the historic re building of the boat. We were delighted and thrilled on every visit. As English speaking Irish people we were certainly not conned. Looking forward to the historic Atlantic crossing with enthusiasm.

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