- A spectacular surprise was in store for the Belem, her passengers and her crew on the morning of April 14th, as the ship was due to leave Rouen : the new Gustave Flaubert Bridge, a massive elevating bridge spanning the river Seine at the entrance of Rouen harbour was officially put in motion for the first time, enabling tall ship such as the Belem to pass underneath it and reach the heart of the town. Hauled up by 450 tons of steel cable, the two bridge decks were lifted up 37 metres: the Belem sailed under them with 3 metres to spare.
It was a fitting end to a very successful 28 days spent in Rouen, home to the great Tall Ship Armada since 1989. Thanks to the partnership between the Belem Foundation, the Armada team, the Port Authorities and the Town Hall, the Belem welcomed a record number of visitors: 18 000 people including 1 200 school children.
- On leaving Rouen, the Belem made her way to Cherbourg for the start of the sailing season, with the first trainees meeting her there on April 17th. Another public event awaits her however, at Concarneau, when she arrives on April 25th, after stopping over and taking up new teams of trainees in Brest and in Lorient. Since 1985, the popular “Festival Livre & Mer” is held in this beautiful Breton sea port; it has become a strong literary event centred on writers and books linked to the sea. During the whole week end of the 28th/29th, the Belem will be a meeting point for well-known French authors such as Isabelle Autissier, Didier Decoin, Hervé Hamon, François Bellec... who will be signing their books in the main deckhouse, decorated with sea paintings by the British artist Anne Smith, who lives and works in Brittany.