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Belem: The splendid three-mast ship arrives in Cannes


The majestic three-master under full sails. © Benjamin DecoinThe magnificent, heritage-listed sailing ship, Belem, is spending the winter in the port of Cannes. The three-mast clipper from 1896 arrived in Port Canto on Tuesday, 22 September and will remain until mid-March. The Belem will be open to visitors for guided tours on the weekends until the end of October.



The 18th century clipper ship’s voyage to Cannes was the first time it sailed in nearly a year due to the Coronavirus. The ship has the capacity for 48 crew, although the tight spaces prevent proper social distancing. A voyage was planned this past April with a reduced crew of 26, however, the organisers preferred to err on the side of caution and cancelled the trip.

In an interview with "Nice Matin," the Capitan of the Belem, Aymeric Gibet, stated that the ship has weathered worse: “It has survived blasts, earthquakes, fires and world wars…and now a pandemic! It will last for a long time to come.”

Its course was Saint-Nazaire – Nice with a brief stop at Port Lympia and finally, Cannes, where it arrived at 5 pm Tuesday evening.

The Belem will winter next to the Capitainerie in the Pierre Canto harbour until next March. Mayor David Lisnard and the Belem Foundation have signed an agreement for its temporary home which includes tours to students and visitors. On the weekends up until 25 October, the 58-metre-long ship can be visited daily between 10 am and 6 pm (admission: 8 euros, recommended parking: Roseraie). Students from the city will be able to board the ship with their class. The Belem’s arrival coincides with the "Régates Royales" regatta week (20-26 September). From November, the ship will be reconditioned over the winter until 12 March.

"Cannes (...) is the ideal port to accommodate the ship, which is to this day a symbol of French cultural heritage and the last of the great French merchant ships of the 19th century to sail," said the mayor.

The ship was created for international trade. From 1896 – 1914, the Belem travelled between Nantes and Brazil to bring cocoa beans from the Amazon to France. This route ended with the 1st world war. It then passed into British ownership, including the Guinness family, then it was purchased by the Italians, were it harboured in Venice, until it made it back into French hands in 1979,


Reservation for a visit: