The story of the frigate Hermione

Born in Rochefort during the 18th century, the Hermione has become the frigate of freedom and the symbol of the Franco-American friendship.

The building of the frigate Hermione in the 18th century

We are in 1779. At the heart of the Naval Dockyard of Rochefort, Chevillard Aîné puts the finishing touches to the plans of a serie of frigates, including the Hermione.

Carpenters, blacksmiths and convicts actively work on building these Royal frigates...they must finish building the frigate Hermione, granddaughter of the ocean according to Greek mythology.

Remember, on the other side of the Atlantic, the war of independence is brewing...

The Hermione, lighter than a warship, will be attached to a squadron to serve as a scout and assist warships in difficulty during battle.

The Hermione and La Fayette in the conflict for the independence of the United States

Our Hermione, built in Rochefort, left the Naval Dockyard in 1780. On board, a Mister Gilbert Motier, Marquis of La Fayette, aiming to take part in this fight for independence.

Under the orders of La Touche-Tréville, the valiant Hermione, participated in decisive victories and became a symbol of freedom and Franco-American fraternity, hence its nickname  the Frigate of Freedom.

The sinking of the frigate Hermione

Fourteen years after its was built, our "heroine of the seas", docked in Nantes, to resume its service to escort warships.

This ordinary mission will be the last for the frigate... As soon as it leaves the estuary of the Loire, the frigate is stranded off the Croisic, abandoned to its unforgiving fate.

Here we are in 1984, off the Croisic, an underwater archeology enthusiast dives near the area and discovers a dislocated wreck, covered with algae.

After searching the archives of the Navy, no doubt, Michel Vasquez, has just found the mythical frigate of freedom !

Did you know...? The anchor and three of its cannons are exhibited at the castle of the Dukes of Brittany in Nantes.

The reconstruction of the frigate Hermione

In the early 1980s, a group of friends wanted to revive Rochefort's naval dockyard, the very same dockyard Louis 14th had wanted as "the most beautiful naval dockyard of the kingdom."

This is how the crazy project to rebuild a boat at the heart of this exceptional maritime heritage was born...