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V11 - La belle France

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*Travellers must be between 14 and 80 years old on the date of sailing to be eligible for the trip.

Destination: La Rochelle - Belle Ile en-Mer - Lorient

Dates: 23 June (Embark 16h00) 27 June (Disembark 10h00)

Voyage highlights

  • Hands on sailing in comfort aboard the newly renovated historic tall ship Santa Maria Manuela.
  • Explore la Rochelle’s maritime, cuisine and cultural treasures.
  • Stroll through Belle-Ile en Mer’s breathtakingly beautiful landscapes
  • Why not book two 5 day voyages (V12 and V13) to explore more islands and extend your adventure!

Voyage description

Our tall ship sailing adventure starts in France’s beguilingly beautiful, La Rochelle, originally a 10th century fishing village, which soon became celebrated as wine and salt trading port.

Before boarding the Santa Maria Manuela take time to enjoy the port festival, or stroll around the Vieux-Port quarter, the city's most emblematic district which has inspired painters and photographers through the ages. The medieval fortifications host three historic towers, most famously the 15th Century Lantern Tower which boasts striking views of the city and the harbour.

We leave La Rochelle’s architectural treasures in our wake as we join the festival’s parade of sail, west and north into the Bay of Biscay. Volunteer to help the crew hoist and set the sails. The feeling of helming a 68m sailing ship with the sensation as she responds to the command of the wheel is something to savor forever. There´s nothing our crew like more then to share their knowledge of sailing with our guests, and they will encourage you to get actively involved in sailing the ship.

Knot classes are a great way to learn a new skill whilst sharing sailing stories with shipmates, and if the weather allows there's the opportunity to go up the mast or relax on the bowsprit. A drink at sunset on the deck is the perfect way to round off each day.

After a few days at sea we approach the aptly named Britannic island of Belle-Ile en Mer, where breathtakingly beautiful landscapes offer a rich mosaic of peaceful beaches, spectacular cliffs, colourful ports and lush countryside. If we’re lucky with the weather we will drift here for the day. For the energetic, it’s a chance to swim and enjoy the ships kayaks and paddle boards. For those with culture in mind, take a lift ashore on the ships zodiac to walk the quays past colourful houses, stroll around the port and the streets in the old town of Palais or explore the Vauban citadel.

Soon we set sail again, this time for our final destination of Lorient, and another great port festival.

After disembarking soak up the festival atmosphere or marvel at the fish market, a hive of activity every morning. Fresh fish and seafood just off the boats are taken straight to the Merville indoor market, the beating heart of the town.

In Belle Ile expect pleasant maximum average daytime temperatures of around 19°C (65°F) and nighttime temperatures around 15°C (59°F)

When preparing for your voyage please bear in mind:

  • Your passport must have at least 6 months validity at the time of travel
  • The SMM is granted no flexibility for the embarkation and disembarkation times from the customs authorities
  • All guests must be between the age of 14 and 80 yrs at the time of travel