The Museum of the Sea and the Navy, Bordeaux

  • © Brochet Lajus Pueyo

    © Brochet Lajus Pueyo

The Museum of the Sea and the Navy, Bordeaux

The Museum of the Sea and the Navy will open its doors in the spring of 2018 on the site of the Basins afloat, after a program of 24 months of work launched on April 28, 2016 by laying the foundation stone.


Norbert Fradin, passionate about the sea, is at the origin of this project. During many years of research, meetings and discoveries, he has created a remarkable collection of boat collections, historical models, paintings and sculptures, objects and documents ... In the early 2010s, the idea of the Museum of the Sea and the Navy was born from its wish to share with the general public this exceptional heritage. The project will then develop and gradually grow. An intense dynamic of federation of individual and collective energies will be launched around the project: personalities of reference, operators and specialists in the field, scientific and historical skills, professionals and companies, associations and collectives


The design of the museum was entrusted to the Bordeaux architect Olivier Brochet, recognized in the creation of museums (Fabre Museum of Montpellier, the Orangery Museum in Paris, New Museum of Man Trocadero).
The building will be a monumental complex with a total surface of more than 13,800 m2, on 7 successive levels, and will rise to a total height of 45 m. More than 9500 m2 will be spread over 3 levels and will be dedicated to museum activities: exhibitions, events, demonstrations, presentations ... On the first floor, an auditorium of 500 m2 will offer 380 seats. Above, will be a multipurpose room of 660 m2 modular with an extension capacity.
Finally a restaurant, an inter-active bistro, projection rooms, reading and knowledge lounges, places of welcome and rest ... complete this set.

This new area of entertainment and exhibitions, discoveries and meetings, cultural and fun participation, memory and outreach, will be entirely dedicated to the sea and the navy.
In France and in the world all museums and places specifically dedicated to the sea and to the navy have a common characteristic to be devoted to the sea or to the navy, the originality of the Museum of the Sea and the Navy is to treat the two themes at once, as much in their individual history and reality as in their mutual relations and interactions.
The museography will be declined in nine axes of historical and thematic approaches: The history of the boats and the naval art - The discoveries, the explorations, the great crossings - Power and control of the seas - The great commercial routes - The archeology under -marine - The world of pleasure - Mythology and imagination of the sea - The sea and land - The sea source of life - exploitation and protection.

In the design of the project and the perspective of its implementation, Bordeaux has always been the essential place of election for the establishment of the museum. Bordeaux was for a long time the second largest port in the world, just behind London, and for several centuries one of the most important and prestigious maritime ports of call on the planet.
The museum wants to open from Bordeaux a vast panoramic window on the past, the news and the future of the sea and the navy in all the time and on all the oceans of the planet. The choice of the site of the Basins afloat - former port district which is the subject of a vast development project - for its implementation is therefore eminently legitimate and relevant: it offers the image of the ideal match between a vision of the future and the historical sense of its original decor.


In addition, the museum wishes to fully play its role of cultural actor on the edge of these historic basins. It will be close to the City of Wine, within sight, in a kind of monumental and cultural face to face where will come to "dialogue" the two great stories of Bordeaux: that of wine and that of the sea.