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Hermione's Trip

You can click on the pictures of the posters created by the Hermione-Lafayette Association to enlarge them. (Drawings of the seagull by Didier Georget and others: CNBDI - Centre National de la Bande Dessinée (images 3 D) and Dudley Collard)


In the spring of 2015, this replica of Lafayette's ship crossed the Atlantic ocean to retrace one of the trips undertaken by this young nobleman with 300 men in 1780 to help Americans during their Revolutionary war in the 18th century.


Description of this historical trip

voyage voyage2
Point of departure

Lafayette's ship participated at the battle of Yorktown, the decisive victory that ended the war between the the British and the Americans. The Hermione stopped in several harbors to commemorate the friendship between the French and the Americans. In 1781, French troops led by Rochambeau, Lafayette, and De Grasse made it possible for Americans to win this great victory by preventing the British from arriving. Soon after, Cornwallis capitulated and Americans became independent.

Captions on poster: " A voyage following the same sea route as Lafayette, with stops in ports chosen for their historical role in the American Revolution and support from the French navy. A nearly four month itinerary accross the Atlantic and up the eastern coast of America from April to mid-August. A 7 500 nautical mile trip- 13,000 km. A round-trip voyage in 10 stops. (captions in italics were translated by Marie Ponterio)

Ports of call
Rochefort, Charente-Maritime
The Rochefort naval shipyard was selected for the construction of the original Hermione in 1779 and once again to build its replica from 1997 to 2014. The homeport of the frigate Hermione, a symbol of the city's maritme heritage.
Direction south to take advantage of the winds in the Azores.

Las Palmas, Canaries
Twelve days at sea were necessary to reach the Canary Islands. This technical stopover was used to prepare the frigate for its Atlantic crossing.

Yorktown, Virginia
Chesapeake Bay

Yorktown, Virginia is where the decisive battle for American independence took place. The Hermione took part in the naval battle in September 1781. Today, Yorktown, Jamestown, and Colonial Williamsburg form a unique historic hub and world famous tourist destination. The Hermione will arrive after an estimated 27 day trip. Near Yortown, Norfolk is the world's most important Naval base and the 2nd Fleet Headquarters.

Washington D.C. / Mount Vernon/ Alexandria

Named after Washington, the Americans' first president and a great friend of Lafayette, it is now the capital of the United States. At the time of the war of Independence, the nation's capital did not exist. Now Lafayette's portrait hangs in a place of honor in the Capitol Building. The Hermione moored in the vicinity of Washington visiting Mount Vernon, Washington's home, and the nearby port of Alexandria, Va.


Annapolis is located on the Chesapeake Bay. It is the capital of the State of Maryland. Lafayette was present in the city in March 1781. Annapolis is the home of the US Naval Academy. Annapolis was the capital of the United States in 1783 after the Treaty of Paris.

Baltimore, Maryland

Baltimore is located on Chesapeake Bay in Maryland. Lafayette went there several times in the spring of 1781 and during the summer of 1784. Baltimore played a leading role in the American Revolution. Here the Hermione will meet the full fleet of Tall Ships America: The Pride of Baltimore, an exceptional replica, and the USS Constellation, a 1797 frigate.

Philadelphia is located in the bay of the Delaware River in Pennsylvania. La Fayette was frequently in the city in 1777 and later in 1781. This is the place where the members of the United States Congress were received aboard the Hermione in May 1781.


New York City, NY

New York City, the largest city in the United States was the country's capital between 1785 and 1790 at the end of the revolution. It was the last town to be liberated by George Washington's army at the very end of the Revolutionary war.

Greenport, New York

Greenport is on the North Face of Long Island, a landscape of vineyards and long maritime History. It is the place of rendezvous for tall ships especially Tall Ships of America. Greenport is near Newport, Rhode Island. In Newport on July 11th, 5,500 men landed from the French Corps Expéditionnaire led by Rochambeau and later joined by La Fayette as George Washington's special envoy on July 25 1780.

Boston, Massachusetts

Boston, the capital of Massachusetts, and the leading city of New England, was the starting point of the American Revolution, triggered by the Boston Tea Party. Lafayette arived on the Hermione in Boston on April 28, 1780

Castine, Maine

Castine, located in the south of Acadia, was a French colony and stronghold until it came under British domination.Today, the city is home of the Maine Maritime Academy.


Halifax, Lunenburg, Canada
In the historical land of the New France (l'Amérique française)

Proceeding via the picturesque coast of Maine, the Hermione sailed to Halifax, Nova Scotia. The Hermione patrolled the coast of Lunenburg nearby Halifax along the banks of the St. Lawrence River, before the famous battle of Louisburg in July 1781. Fighting alongside was the Astrée led by La Pérouse.
is located close to Halifax. Lunenburg is renowned as the emblematic city of the Canadian schooner Bluenose. For this stopover, an entire fleet accompanied the Hermione.


The History of Brest has always been linked to the French navy. Lafayette sailed into Brest on February 6, 1779, after his first American campaign. This emblematic port where old ships meet will welcome back the Hermione after her trip to the United States and for the Maritime festivities in 2016."

In 1778, Lafayette's frigate was built in 11 months with hundreds of craftmen in Rochefort near La Rochelle, also a city with a long maritime history with the Americas.
Since 1997, when work on this replica began, craftmen and many volunteers used, whenever possible, traditionnal techniques. However, for the 70 crew members'safety, modern equipment had to be installed.

mat gouvernail

One of the 3 masts and the wheel


One of the cannons. The Hermione had 26 cannons.



voile cordage

One of the sails and ropes.




couchage provisions

Sleeping arrangments and food


navigation artillerie

Navigation tools and artillery

To learn more:


June 15 Hermione arrives in Baltimore inner Harbor
County News Minutes - Hermione Lecture series
Washington's General Marquis de Lafayette
The Voyage Of The Hermione
, interview with Miles Young (Lower Manhattan Historical Society)


The 2015 voyage of the Hermione
CNN: A Reminder of US. liberty, 18th century replica sets sail from France

Lafayette's Hermione, voyage 2015
L'Hermione, la frégate de la liberté (web site also in English)
The Marquis de Lafayette sails again, Joshua Levine, Smithsonian Magazine, April 2015.
The History Place
Brandywine Battle Historic Site: The Marquis de Lafayette
American History: The Marquis de Lafayette

videos in French:

L'Hermione en images
L'Hermione côtoie les sommets avec la fin de la pose de ses mâts à Rochefort
Pose des voiles de l'Hermione
Magazine 13 minutes construction de l'Hermione
Lafayette - Bataille de Yorktown (extrait du film de Jean Dréville, 1961)


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Photos: Marie-J. Ponterio
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