Meet the Belem

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Meet the Belem, the iconic three masted barque and last 19th century French trading ship still under sail!

I am a sea person and I love ships, boats and sailing in general. And yes, I can sail… not that I really have the chance to do so these days!

The Belem is probably my favourite barque and I saw it docked in Nantes a lot when I was a kid. It recently came back for a last trip and I couldn’t resist visiting it.

The Belem was built at Chantenay sur Loire, near Nantes, by the famous Dubigeon shipyard, and put to sea in 1896. As a merchant vessel she crossed the Atlantic 33 times from 1896 to 1913. She was originally a cargo ship, transporting sugar from the West Indies, cocoa, and coffee from Brazil and French Guiana to Nantes, and then it was turned into a school ship. It is a living symbol of France’s naval history and Nantes’ industrial past.

The boat looks fairly small from the pontoon—it is “only” 58 metres long—but it feels huge once you step on the deck. Sure, it is a tiny boat compared to these giant cruise ships but it has several levels and still fits a kitchen, a machine room, a bathroom, a workshop, etc. Living on the boat for several weeks or months must be tough but I still envy those who sail it.

You can see the complete set of pictures of France here.

The Belem

The Belem

Mark On Board

Mark On Board

Boating Knots

Boating Knots

Boating Knots

Boating Knots

Boating Knots

Boating Knots

Which Way?

Which Way?

The Captain's Cabin

The Captain’s Cabin

Mark On Board

Mark On Board

Loire River

Loire River

Former Shipyards

Former Shipyard

The Sail

The Sail

The Sail

The Sail

Brittany Flag

Brittany Flag

On The Top Deck

On The Top Deck

On The Top Deck

On The Top Deck

On The Top Deck

On The Top Deck

The Workshop

The Workshop

The Kitchen

The Kitchen

The Kitchen

The Kitchen

Which Way?

Which Way?

No High Heels!

No High Heels!

The Sail

The Sail

The Belem

The Belem

The Belem

The Belem

The Belem

The Belem

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About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.

10 Comments

  1. Il est superbe ce bateau! 🙂 C’est pas lui qu’on avait vu en 2008 à Montréal?! On aurait voulu faire exprès pour le voir qu’on l’aurait pas vu! On se trouvait justement dans le Vieux-Port et on voyait un attroupement à la fin des quai, on s’avance et là on voit des gars en uniformes de l’armée des années de la colonisation (je sais pas exactement, me suis pas renseignée là-dessus). On se demandait pourquoi ils étaient là et après on a vu arriver le Belem au loin, c’était génial 🙂 Je crois que c’était son dernier voyage 🙂

    J’aime bien (entre autre) la photo avec les tasses accrochées 🙂

  2. These pictures reminded me so much of Bordeaux. Um, maybe I do miss it! There are often boats lined up along Bordeaux’s quay as well. I should visit one when I get back. The two cities definitely have some things in common.

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