Coming soon to Bordeaux... A Museum of the Sea and Seafaring

In summer 2018, Bordeaux will officially open its new Museum of the Sea and Seafaring. This 13,000 m² centre securely docked alongside the city’s historic port will welcome visitors on a quest to explore the entire history of the maritime adventure. While we wait for boarding to start, we meet with Norbert Fradin, the passionate creator of this project, who tells us all about it.

It all starts with a passion

“I had these collections, and wanted to share them... The sea and seafaring have always been my driving passion. From the dawn of time, there has always been this link between people and the sea. As a boy, I had a model of a square-rigged trading ship in my bedroom. And I still have it. Perhaps it was that ship that awoke my passion for boats”.

Bordeaux, of course…

“The link between Bordeaux and the Atlantic is very strong indeed. Bordeaux had been one of the greatest ports in Europe, but the city rather turned its back on its maritime culture towards the end of the 20th century. At a time where it was becoming one of the most visited tourist destinations in France, I felt that this lack of centre dedicated to the maritime adventure was missing. So we chose this iconic location: the floating harbour known as the Bassins à flot, which was created at the end of the 19th century...”.

Full scale

“The world of the sea is often a world of suffering, but it is always - even for those of us who have never sailed - a great adventure fantasy. The museum will celebrate an immense variety of beautiful boats. These are much more than art objects and the stuff of dreams; they are also purposeful tools of trade and pleasure”.

Mankind, the sea and the future

“A museum is a living resource and a window to the future, because we cannot build our future without learning the lessons of previous civilisations. By observing the history of seafaring and the sea, we can see how the relationship between mankind and the oceans is changing. This museum will also embrace oceanography, the new sciences of the sea, and all its environmental problems. We hope that this will improve our understanding of the ocean depths that could help humanity to survive far into the future”.

The first exhibition

“The very first temporary exhibition to be hosted by the Museum of the Sea and Seafaring will be devoted to Monet, and presented in partnership with the Musée Marmottan Monet. It will include 41 paintings and some 20 drawings of the coast and the sea by the Master of Impressionism”.

Getting to Bordeaux