In Morbihan, Port-Louis is a town known for the charm of its city center, its fishing and yachting harbors, and its incredible 16th century citadel. During the summer, the Musée National de la Marine in Port-Louis, located in the heart of the citadel, invites visitors to experience the event "Citadelle en Fête". For three days, young and old alike will take a trip back in time and discover daily life in the 17th century. While the citadel comes alive, it is also an opportunity to discover the inescapable national museum of the Navy that it houses. This fascinating place should not fail to arouse the desire to visit later the sites of the network of the national museum of the Navy in Brest, Rochefort and Toulon.
"Citadelle en fête", a dive into history and festive moments in Port-Louis
When visiting the south of Brittany during the summer vacations, do not miss the opportunity to stop in the small city of character of Port-Louis to participate in"Citadelle en Fête". Through a multitude of animations, the public is invited to discover the citadel as in the 17th century. An exceptional weekend during which young and old can come dressed in the fashion of the Grand Siècle for a dive into the past and live unforgettable moments.
The companies Passdarm, Armadag and Scenistorics, specialized in historical re-enactment shows, will take over the place with camps, costumed shows and other plays that will give the citadel its atmosphere of the past, when its main mission was to defend the entrance to the harbor of Lorient. The actors put on their best costumes and recreate scenes of life at the time, which will not fail to delight young and old.
From Friday, August 5 to Sunday, August 7, the program promises to be full of events, because, in addition to cloak and dagger shows and skits, initiations to fencing and cannon firings will shake the walls of the citadel. On Friday, the ramparts will vibrate to the sound of the tunes played by the Sonneurs du Bagad Sonerien Lann-Bihoué, a Breton music ensemble of former members of the French Navy whose tunes are drawn from both the traditional and contemporary repertoires. During the three days, the Port-Louis Epices association will be present in front of the museum's bookshop to propose a real odyssey of perfume through little games. This is an opportunity to ask questions about the history of the cargoes that arrived on the quays of the Port-Louis citadel in the 17th and 18th centuries
Visit to the National Maritime Museum in Port-Louis
While the "Citadelle en Fête" event is setting fire to the architectural jewel of Port-Louis, the Musée National de la Marine will remain open to the public. You should not miss the opportunity to discover a unique collection of ancient objects, models of ships and audio and video testimonies. The first part of the exhibition deals with the incredible fraternity of the people of the sea through the history of sea rescue. Visitors are then led to explore the maritime routes of the Far East, thanks to the presentation of ancient navigational instruments and part of the models from the collection of Admiral Pâris, which evokes the fascinating subject of trade routes. Finally, underwater archaeology is highlighted by the presentation of objects from the excavations of the wreck of the Mauritius, a Dutch ship that sank off the coast of Gabon in 1609, as well as by porcelain recovered from wrecks during excavations in the China and Philippine Seas.
Also of note, throughout the summer, the museum is hosting the ephemeral installation The Minimalist Wave, by graphic designer Alain Bourdon. The artist presents a series of original drawings based on the museum's collections and the history of the Port-Louis citadel. The animated representation of a wave is linked to elements that are inseparable from it: a clear view from the top of the ramparts, ships of the Compagnie des Indes sailing in the distance or a dive to the bottom of the ocean to discover wrecks. All of this is enhanced by a soundtrack created for the occasion by Mathieu Accoh.
The network of the Musée National de la Marine, other fascinating places to discover
The Musée National de la Marine is actually a network of museums located on the coasts of France and whose role is to inform about maritime history and to raise awareness about the need to preserve the rich environment of the sea.
After having taken the time to celebrate the citadel in Port-Louis and to have visited the national museum of the Navy, some will perhaps have the desire to discover the universes of its other sites. One of them is also in Brittany, in Brest. The museum is housed in the imposing castle of the city, with its seventeen centuries of history, and the visit alternates between indoor and outdoor spaces. The collections are very rich with masterpieces of naval decoration and models. The tour evokes important subjects from Brest such as the penal colony, the heyday of the port during the American War of Independence or the emblematic ships of the post-war period. There are also beautiful views of the harbor, the Penfeld River and the city.
In Rochefort, the museum is present on two sites: at the Hôtel de Cheusses, which reveals the history of the Rochefort Arsenal through its models, tools, machines, paintings, sculptures, weapons and navigation instruments; and at the Ancienne Ecole de médecine navale, an intriguing place that can only be discovered on a guided tour, and where you can see an immense scientific library and anatomical collections that have participated, since the 17th century, in the invention and development of naval medicine.
Further south, the Musée National de la Marine is located in Toulon, in the Var department, and traces the history of the Navy in this important French war port. It houses a sublime collection of ships used in the Mediterranean. It is also an opportunity to discover how the Navy impacts the development of the city
Finally, the National Museum of the Navy is in Paris, at the Trocadero, but the site is currently closed for renovation. It will reopen its doors in 2023 after a total renovation project and will present in an immersive and innovative way the issues raised by the Navy and the sea, from yesterday to tomorrow. To be continued...
Practical information :
Citadelle in celebration
From August 5 to 7, 2022
Citadelle of Port-Louis (56 290)
Complete program on musee-marine.fr/Port-Louis
Prices: 5 € for 4-18 years old, 15 € for adults. Shows, animations, visit of the museum and audioguide included
Ticketing online or on site
National Museum of the Navy
In Brest, Port-Louis, Rochefort, Toulon, and Paris from 2023