From June 8th - 18th, 2023, the city of Rouen in Normandy will be buzzing with excitement as it hosts one of France's most significant public events. The Rouen Armada will bring together 43 tall ships and military vessels from around the world for a grand spectacle along the picturesque banks of the River Seine.

Ships along the River Seine during the Rouen Armada
Tall ships along the River Seine

David BerardanCC-BY SA 3.0

This highly anticipated event has taken place around every five years since it started in 1989. The eighth edition boasts an impressive fleet of 43 magnificent sailing ships with multiple masts. 

Beyond these majestic vessels, the Armada offers a wide array of activities for everyone to enjoy, both on land and in the water.

You can witness spectacular fireworks displays and enjoy free concerts every evening. Best of all, everything is free for the general public. This commitment to accessibility ensures that everyone can experience the magic of the Armada.

See the Magnificent Tall Ships & Meet the Crew

During the Armada, you’ll be able to marvel at the world's most impressive tall ships as they sail along the Seine riverbanks. You may like to pack a picnic and your binoculars, and find a spot along the 75-mile stretch of the river to witness these majestic vessels embark on their journey from Le Havre to Rouen on June 7th and 8th, between 3:30 PM and 9:30 PM.

You can join the grand finale on June 18th, known as "La Grande Parade," as all the ships sail back to Le Havre together. Be sure to check the precise passage times of the ships on the Armada's official website or using the Armada’s app.If you’re visiting Rouen during the Armada, take the opportunity to explore the ships up close. Crew members are happy to guide visitors through each vessel, sharing their stories and answering questions. You’ll see the visiting times posted near each ship's gangplank or consult you can check these on the Armada 2023 app.

An Inclusive Armada

There won’t be any Russian ships this year, but Штандартъ (Shtandart) is a replica of the first ship of Russia's Baltic fleet, built by sailing enthusiasts 24 years ago. Nowadays, the ship is stateless and doesn’t have a home port. What’s more, in a gesture of inclusiveness and unity, around 300 Ukrainians residing in France have been invited to have breakfast aboard one of the ships.

Key Events to Experience During the Armada

La Grande Pagaille

This event translates as “The Big Shambles”! On June 7th from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM, there’ll be an amusing display of floating objects all attempting to navigate the Seine. Individuals, associations, clubs, schools, and companies will be showcasing their creations as they have designed innovative vessels made entirely from recyclable materials and without thermal engines.

Sailors' Mass

You may join the Archbishop of Rouen on June 11th at 11:00 AM for the Sailors' Mass aboard the Atlantis. If you follow the procession from the left bank of the Seine, located on the Rollet peninsula, you can be part of this significant event that honors the seafaring tradition.


If you’re interested in boats and sailing, let us know when you book a tour of France with us. We will do our best to include some relevant sites, events or activities in your itinerary!

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