Discover French initiatives committed to a better world at our first Pitch and Give event - March 30th New York
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Mission and Vision

In 1997, Association Hermione-La Fayette undertook, at the Arsenal de Rochefort, the identical reconstruction of the Hermione, the Frigate of Freedom. In 1780, General La Fayette embarked on this ship and came on board to announce France’s support for the American insurgents. 17 years of work, carried out under the eyes of the public, made it possible to discover and transmit the techniques of traditional shipbuilding. Since 2014, the frigate, which had become a sailing ship, has become a major emblem of French maritime heritage, the largest replica of a 3-masted 18th-century vessel. A unique associative project, the Hermione is a cultural ambassador in and of itself as a vector of transmission, training, and openness to the world.

Actions Led

Between 2014 and 2019, Hermione made 4 sea voyages, traveled more than 22,000 miles, and visited 3 continents, 5 countries, and 36 ports of call. Not only is this a maritime adventure, but also an exceptional human adventure that allows for a crew composed mainly of young volunteers to benefit from a unique training experience guided by the values of solidarity, cohesion, commitment, and cultural transmission. To date, more than 600 young people have been trained and have been able to embark on board in navigation. The association is also expanding its mission of training, in relation to the trades of the sea and wood construction.

Projects that US Donors can Support

Following a routine refit of the Hermione replica, a slow-growing fungi was discovered on certain areas of the vessel, necessitating extensive and lengthy repairs. Saving the ship will require tackling unique and unprecedented technical challenges with the assistance of specialists, labs, and research centers to learn best practices and leverage top-notch expertise. This research aims not only to save the Hermione, but also to develop and advance non-destructive control methods for more effective predictive maintenance for similar works of craftsmanship in the future.

US donors can contribute to the financing of the ship restoration, carried out in front of the public – also including the training and the insertion of young people far from employment, the promotion of all the professions around wood and the marine world, and an exhibit open to visitors organized nearby the ship. American donors can also further contribute to the return of the frigate to the sea and to cover some costs in order to carry out new major voyages, in particular in American ports.

Find out more in our article published on October 19, 2023.

(c)Valérie Toebat, 2015

(c)Association Hermione – La Fayette, Maxime Franusiak, 2022