Thousands flock to Le Havre for tall ships parade

Le Havre (France) (AFP) –


Tens of thousands of people lined the quays of the French port of Le Havre on Sunday to see some of the world's oldest and most majestic sailing ships glide past on the city's 500th anniversary.

Thirty-one tall ships, including France's 121-year-old Belem and the German-built four-masted Kruzenshtern -- the biggest traditional sailing vessel still in operation -- lifted anchor after four days and paraded along the beach en route to the open sea.

The city in Normandy was the final port of call of participants in the RDV2017 Tall Ships Regatta, a transatlantic race taking in six countries.

According to official estimates, around 400,000 people flocked to Le Havre this week to view the vessels, many of them former merchant ships dating to the early 1900s.

Le Havre has organised a series of events to mark its founding by King Francis 1 of France in 1517.