Dream coming true to build France’s Sun King’s warship

The hull of the Jean Bart takes shape in the yard at Gravelines

A reconstruction of a wooden warship from Sun King Louis XIV’s navy is taking shape on the Channel coast - slowly and very authentically

The Jean Bart is a recreation of a 17th century warship named after a Dunkirk-born admiral.

The project in Gravelines, between Calais and Dunkirk, echoes the building of the Hermione, a replica of an 18th century frigate that joined the US war of independence.

It employs young people and teaches them crafts and skills, as well as passing on local history and maritime culture. It also attracts tourists to boost the local economy.

A workman shapes one of the huge fourcat bulkheads....

The project is the dream of Christian Cardin, who says the inspiration was a history lesson at school on the sea battle of La Hougue as King Louis tried to restore his cousin to the English throne.

In 1692, Admiral de Tourville, in command ...

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