Organised every five years on the quays of the Seine, in the heart of Rouen, the Rouen Armada is a large gathering of sailing boats, ships and military boats. With this occasion, Normandy hosts one of the most significant global sailing events in the world.
The idea of creating such an event stems from the transatlantic race between Rouen and New York in 1986 that celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Statue of Liberty crossing the Atlantic. Additionally, the most beautiful sailing boats in the world responded by dropping anchor in Rouen in honour of the bicentenary of the revolution (1989).
Rouen Armada: a magnificent gathering of sail boats
This event is completely free and open to everyone, for amateurs and sailing enthusiasts to enjoy. It was an immediate success and the Rouen Armada has become a regular and unmissable event in the Seine valley. As the years have gone by, the number of boats invited has increased in particular to allow warships such as helicopter carriers, submarines and also more unusual boats such as barges.
During the event, the different neighbourhoods of Rouen and the communes in the outskirts of Rouen are bedecked in the colours of the different nationalities of the boats invited, and more than 8000 sailors walk around the streets of Rouen. Concerts and fireworks are organised every evening and particularly at the closure of the event.
At the end of the event, the boats go back down the Seine one after another for a majestic parade: starting in Rouen and travelling past La Bouille, Sahurs, Duclair and Jumièges, the residents, spectators and sailing enthusiasts gather along the banks of the Seine to salute the sailors one last time, until they reach the river’s estuary between Honfleur and Le Havre.
The Rouen Armada is a unique moment that you can experience alone, as a family with your children, with friends or with your partner.