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Hermione, la frigate de libertie

This evening I returned to Castelnau de Montmiral having been away 3 days to Rochefort and La Rochelle. Hermione_bow_IMG_2314_d.JPG
I went to look at the Hermione, an historic frigate replica (ship) building at Rochefort (the replica Frigate “Hermione” is known as la frigate de libertie) ) and for opportunities to sell my work at La Rochelle.

Hermione is a replica of the frigate used by Lafayette in support of the American war of Independence.

The new ship is part of a much larger scheme to revitalize Rochefort, formally a major arsenal town.
The arseal closed in 1926 then was burnt by the retreating Germans in 1944.
The Hermione is intended eventually to be presented to the American people.
Building the Hermione started some 10 years previously. When the people of Rochefort decided Hermione was the frigate they wished to replicate the first problem was no plan was available in any French archive.
Happily for Rochefort, Hermione had 3 sister ships one of which Constantine was captured by the British who in those days would measure and record all captured ships.
Thus a plan of Constantine was found thanks to the people in the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich and the new Hermione is based on that plan.
The standard of construction is remarkabley high.
The same master builder has overseen the project since inception.
The new Hermione has been built to a traditionall formula using modern tools and she is designed to conform with modern health and safety standards so for example 1/3 of her hold which would have contained vital supplies will be an engine room required for assurance as she is intended to make a Trans Atlantic crossing.

My guide was Isabelle Georget, Relations Marketing/Partenariat de la Hermione (www.hermione.com) visit included a tour of the corderie and an explanation of the history and future of Rochefort.

It felt good to be out of Castelnau de Montmiral which I love but can feel a bit isolated and to be in a world I know by the sea with people who speak the same language all be it a French version.
Unlike most of the English around CdM I am not retired – “waiting for God”,  and am happiest  actively involved with the wider world.

Hermione__making_a_mizzen_stay_IMG_2313_d.JPG I was given an excellent tour of the ship and facilities so left wishing I could have had more time there. Hermione__general_view_IMG_2374_d.JPG
Apart from an interest in painting Hermione, I found material for possible articles in Warships IFR and Sea Breezes, maybe in other journals too all of which is mutually advantagous.
I intend to return for the ceremony of  Hermione leaving the dry dock, that will be a great day.
I have some experience of these occassions beyond the partying.
I attended the launch of the Lord Nelson and was fortunate to be filmed by BBC TV (see photo half way down page http://www.frickers.co.uk/about.html and painted on the day.
I still have one painting from that occasion.
When the beautiful La Recouvrance was launched at Brest, Yachting World used my photos.

I took things a bit more easy than I usually do having found I am not entirely better so should ease off.
That included finding myself a good lunch after the Hermione visit.
I rather fell on my feet discovering “Cap Nell“, a restaurant with a name as unlikely as the exterior yet which proved to be excellent inside.
That is excellent presentation (the menu was a book let which included the charming story of the founder, a light house keeper’s daughter hence Cap Nell) including the modern decor to plentiful excellent food (I tried Marlon) beautifully presented.  Cap_Nell_IMG_2422_d.JPG
I have though decided very reluctantly I will agree to the medics here in France investigating me further.
My friend Peter Goodwin who himself is not on full form following a stroke some years ago, wrote of French medics “it was a French doctor who successful removed Nelson’s arm so they must be good!”


You may be aware La Rochelle has a good reputation for exhibitions of paintings and in particular marine art?

At La Rochelle I obtained the names, location on a map and contact details of all the galleries. La_Rochelle_port_IMG_2431_d.JPG
I had time to speak to one gallery proprietor and although the gallery is mostly contemporary art was given a favourable hearing so we are at least speaking and may do business.
I also obtained info on the municipal sites.
What do you think of that, I guess you think nothing set concrete but a good reconnaissance if followed up?