More than twenty years ago, a small group dreamed of reconstructing an exact replica of General Lafayette’s 18th-century ship called the Hermione. This majestic vessel is now the largest and most authentically built Tall Ship in the last 150 years. To commemorate the auspicious occasion of Hermione’s return to the USA, the Alliance Française of Northwestern CT, will be showing the DVD “La Mise à Flot de la Coque” on Friday, June 26 at 7:00pm at the Alliance Francaise Center.

This DVD portrays the splendid celebrations held in Rochefort, France when the nearly finished reconstructed Hermione first touched the waters.

In 1780, then aged only 19, the Marquis de Lafayette secretly – and against the wishes of the French government – sailed to America on the original Hermione, commanded by Louis-René de Latouche. Latouche, like so many others, fell under the young Lafayette’s spell. Getting him safely through, in his words, “un passage agréable” to America was the start of a very distinguished naval career.

In addition to carrying General Lafayette, his precious cargo included a strong force of French soldiers who played an instrumental role in the Battle of Yorktown, where they joined General Washington’s troops to blockade the British, leading to the eventual surrender of English General Cornwallis.

In April 2015, Hermione left France to start a 27-day transatlantic crossing to return to the USA. Dockings, special events and public tours will be held in Yorktown, Washington D.C., Annapolis, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, NY (July 2-4), Newport R.I. (7/8,9);, Boston, (7/10-11), Augusta, and Halifax Nova Scotia (

This DVD presentation is open to the public and will be shown free of charge at the Alliance Française Center located at 1 Pomperaug Office Park, Suite 301, Southbury, CT 06488.