Breathing new life into France's finest sailing ships

In the Loire estuary, the association Quai des Messageries, based in Paimbœuf, is reconstructing one of the local glories of old: "La Paimblotine". A professional reintegration project for the love of the old clippers.

Social and Employment

Paimbœuf, France

Guy Richard

20 000 € to the Selection Committee at 2007/05/22

  Project leader Quai des Messageries

«  This association combines outreach and heritage preservation. Besides, its project advances social and environmental values: our helping hand turns out to be a useful idea!  »

Guy Richar

In the 19th century, the commune of Paimbœuf, in the Loire estuary, was the place where some of France's finest sailing ships were launched. Called "paimblotines", these vessels went on fishing expeditions in the Loire and throughout the estuary. With their two masts, their rigging surmounted by a topsail, and their colored jibs on a long "jib-boom" they were both graceful and powerful.

Observing the renewed popularity of old sailing ships, the association Quai des Messageries, based in Paimbœuf and which has been developing projects since 2004 to restore old fishing vessels, has decided to reconstruct one.

Ninety-six youths in training

Quai des messageries, which normally works with youths being trained in the restoration skills and persons in professional reintegration, have decided, for this specific project, to exclusively enlist youths in difficulty and older persons sidelined from the world of work for some time. Its idea was to take advantage of this fine project to provide them all with solid training in the renovation of old sailing ships. In this context, it collaborates with a professional training and reintegration institute possessing a "shipwright" branch.

The site, inaugurated in late 2005, currently employs 96 persons staffed by a master shipwright and many volunteer professionals. The ship's frame is completed today and still needs to be outfitted. Once finished, "La Paimblotine" will be opened to the public, and particularly to the schools which can head out to sea with all sails set.