The Belem: 5 Unusual Facts About The Famous Sailboat.

Famous three-masted ship dating back to the late 19th century, the Belem regularly stops in various ports of France, from Nice to Nantes via Sète or Bordeaux. Here are 5 unusual facts about this ship classified as a historical monument.

1- It is a three-masted ship of French origin.

Despite its Portuguese-sounding name, the Belem is a ship of French origin. This three-masted barque was launched in Nantes in 1896. This boat, which can still be seen sailing and sometimes visited, is over 125 years old!

Its name is an abbreviation of Bethlehem in Portuguese. There is a captaincy and a lookout tower called the same in Lisbon at the mouth of the Tagus River. On the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, Belém is also a port located in northeastern Brazil.

The steel-hulled three-masted barque was named after this Brazilian port because it was there that the ship's first owners, the Crouan shipowners, established a trading post in the early 19th century.

2- He survived two world wars.

Witness to the history of the 20th century, the Belem survived two world wars, while other larger and more powerful sailboats disappeared forever.

In 1939, the ship, which at the time belonged to British industrialist Ernest Guinness from the Guinness breweries, found refuge on the Isle of Wight.

It miraculously escaped bombings and served as a base for a unit of the Free French Naval Forces.

3- He has experienced multiple lives.

The history of the Belem is as long as it is eventful. In over a century, the famous three-masted ship changed nationality three times before returning to its original French flag.

It was first used for cocoa trade and served to bring back this precious raw material from the West Indies and South America for the Meunier chocolate factory.

It then became a British pleasure yacht. In 1914, it was bought from France to be transformed into a luxury yacht for the Duke of Westminster.

From 1951, it served as an Italian training ship on San Giorgio Maggiore Island, before being purchased by the Caisse d'Epargne in 1979 to ensure its preservation in the French historical heritage and its use as a training ship.

This sailboat was classified as a historical monument in 1984, less than two years after the largest French sailing ship, La Duchesse Anne. In 1987, after five years of restoration, it was transformed into a civilian training ship open to all.

4- He continues to navigate and welcome the public.

Today, this 19th-century merchant sailboat is a part of French heritage and a maritime ambassador for France. Unlike the three-masted ship La Duchesse Anne, which no longer sails and remains moored in the port of Dunkirk, the Belem continues to sail all the world's oceans.

It is sometimes possible to visit the famous three-masted ship when it is moored in the port. This jewel of French heritage also offers cruises for the general public and educational experiences for schoolchildren. According to the figures from the Belem Caisse d'Epargne Foundation, 50,000 people have sailed aboard the ship and 2 million people have visited it since 1986.

This proud ship also represents France at major international events. It participated in the 400th anniversary of the founding of the city of Quebec in 2008. In 2012, it represented our country in London for the Olympic Games and Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee.

He will carry the Olympic flame for the Paris 2024 Games.

The Caisse d'Épargne has been the main sponsor of the Belem since the group bought it from its Italian owner in 1979. As a premium partner of the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the sailboat will transport the Olympic flame from Greece to France in May 2024.

On board, 15 young people from disadvantaged neighborhoods will cross the Mediterranean and participate in an integration program. They will depart from the port of Piraeus in Greece to Marseille and will be the young "scouts" of this sporting, festive, and unifying event.

The more than a century-old three-masted ship continues to write its history by participating in the most prestigious international events.

Author: Audrey
Copyright image: Cyrille161
Tags: Belem, French, France, sailboat, heritage, Training ship, British, Paris 2024, Greece, Barque, historical monument, Olympic flame, NANTES, duke, San Giorgio Maggiore, sailing ship, Westminster, merchant, luxury yacht, maritime, Ambassador, TODAY, sail, CITY, scouts, Marseille, Piraeus, Mediterranean, transport, Paralympic Games, Dunkirk, Elizabeth II, Queen Elizabeth II, Olympic Games, London, Quebec, yacht, Chocolate, Meunier, Tagus River, mouth, Lisbon, tower, lookout, captaincy, Portuguese, Bethlehem, Abbreviation, sailing, Bordeaux,
More informations:
In French: Le Belem : 5 faits insolites sur le célèbre voilier
En español: El Belem: 5 datos curiosos sobre el famoso velero.
In italiano: Il Belem: 5 fatti insoliti sulla famosa nave a vela
Auf Deutsch: Die Belem: 5 ungewöhnliche Fakten über das berühmte Segelschiff
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