Wednesday, July 2, 2014

French Flanders Maritime History

Our time exploring Dunkirk was all about the maritime history of the area.
Our day in Gravelines and the surrounding area carried on that theme. 

There is a canal that leads from the walls of Gravelines straight to the sea 
and there is a beautiful marina close by.

Here are three of the stops we made during out tour of the area.

Espace Tourville

In 2002, construction began on a full-size 17th century ship in Gravelines.
Named in honor of the famous French naval commander,
the Jean-Bart will likely take another 20 years to complete.
They are using all original techniques and each piece of oak is custom shaped
and comes from a tree especially chosen for its size and shape.
Visitors are welcome to the construction site and we have a date to return once it's complete.

Musée du Sauvetage

Housed in this small lifeboat shed is a museum dedicated to the brave
people who risked their lives to save those in distress on the sea.
You can step aboard an actual lifeboat and pretend you're sliding down the ramp
to answer a distress call.

Musée de la Mer

The Museum of the Sea in Grand Fort Phillipe right at the mouth of the canal
that leads to Gravelines is a maritime enthusiast's dream.
It tells the stories of the men that kissed their wives and children goodbye,
loaded on to schooners and made the treacherous journey to Iceland to fish.
They would leave around March and not return until September.

I've mentioned before how much we love
visiting coastal cities and hearing about maritime history.
This area is just oozing with it,
not to mention the beautiful surroundings and amazing food of Flanders.

It was a fun-packed weekend and a great, easy getaway from London.

Where is your favorite coastal area?


We were the guests of Gravelines Office of Tourism for our stay in Gravelines.
  All photos, writing and opinions are my own.
As always, I promise to be open, honest and transparent with my readers.
If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask.

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