SHARE
COPY LINK

CULTURE

French plan to rebuild William the Conqueror’s flagship for €20m

The last one was used to lead a successful French invasion of England - but a project to build a replica of William the Conqueror's flagship is purely for historical interest. They say.

French plan to rebuild William the Conqueror’s flagship for €20m
(Photo by LOIC VENANCE / AFP)

A historical association in the Norman coastal town of Honfleur has set itself the task of recreating the vessel William the Conqueror crossed the Channel in for his invasion of England in 1066.

The build is part of a €20 million project merging historical study and tourism that they hope will attract 200,000 visitors in the pretty coastal resort.

Although no contemporary plans of the ship exist, experts believe they know exactly what the ship, called La Mora, looked like. 

“The aim is to reconstruct as faithfully as possible this Viking-type warship, with its slender profile, which could sail up rivers and run aground on the shore. This 34m long oak ship will have to be able to carry 70 crew members, including 60 rowers. It will also have a square sail rig of 150 square metres,” naval architect Marc Ronet said.

“This is a technical challenge as complex as it is exciting. Our marine carpenters will have to relearn the techniques and work practices of the 11th century,” Olivier Pagezy, president of the La Mora association, added.

“And once the project is completed, the Mora, which should be ready to sail by 2027, will have to find new ways of working. We will have to find technical solutions very quickly to meet current safety regulations.” 

Pagezy is no stranger to naval challenges, having previously coordinated work on the Hermione, the replica of La Fayette’s ship.

As with the Hermione, at Rochefort in the Charente-Maritime, the intention is to make the construction work part of a living history exhibit – organisers expect 200,000 people a year will visit the project. A huge disused industrial site near the quays of Honfleur should be cleared by the end of the year to house the project.

The reconstruction of La Mora will be accompanied by an ambitious exhibition of the maritime history of Normandy.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

POLITICS

Macron caps US state visit with New Orleans trip

President Emmanuel Macron on Friday headed to the southern American city of New Orleans, which retains much of its French-infused heritage, as he wraps up a rare three-day state visit to the United States.

Macron caps US state visit with New Orleans trip

After vowing continued support for Ukraine and seeking to quell a EU-US trade dispute during White House talks with President Joe Biden, Macron was expected to meet with local officials and energy companies in New Orleans and unveil a French language program.

Once a French colonial city, New Orleans was sold to the United States by Napoleon as part of the Louisiana Purchase of 1803, and Macron has called it “the quintessential francophone land.”

Macron will promote an initiative to broaden access to French language education for American students, with a focus on disadvantaged groups “for whom the French language can be a multiplier of opportunities,” the French leader said.

Addressing members of the French community in Washington on Wednesday, Macron added that he wanted to revamp the image of the French tongue in the United States, “which is sometimes seen as elitist.”

Macron will follow in the footsteps of French President Charles de Gaulle, who visited New Orleans in 1960. As he strolls through the streets of “NOLA,” Macron is likely to stop by the “Vieux Carre,” or “French Quarter”, the bustling historic city center.

“We have a history in New Orleans and important things to say there concerning both our history and what we want to do for the future,” the Elysee Palace said in a statement.

Energy and climate

Besides celebrating French-American ties, Macron will pay tribute to the victims of Hurricane Katrina which killed more than 1,800 people in and around New Orleans and caused billions of dollars in damage in 2005.

Macron will also meet with businesses “devoted to energy and climate issues,” according to his office, while French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna and Louisiana Governor John Edwards will sign an energy deal.

Accompanied by French film director Claude Lelouch and dancer and choreographer Benjamin Millepied, Macron will meet local artists and prominent cultural figures of New Orleans, known as the birthplace of jazz.

The visit will come on the heels of a lavish dinner at the White House, headlined by master jazzman Jon Batiste, who comes from a family of New Orleans musicians.

Macron’s state visit — the first such formal occasion since Biden took office in January 2021 — symbolized how Washington and Paris have buried last year’s bitter spat over the way Australia pulled out of a French submarine deal in favor of acquiring US nuclear subs instead.

The visit featured a full military honor guard for Macron, including service members from the marines, army, air force and even a detachment of soldiers in 18th-century Revolutionary War garb.

SHOW COMMENTS