FOURAS, France – With champagne, fireworks and a presidential blessing, a painstakingly built replica of the frigate once used to bring French troops and funds to American revolutionaries is setting sail for Boston.
Saturday night's celebratory sendoff for the 25 million euro ($27 million) Hermione seeks to retrace the 65-meter (213-foot) frigate's trans-Atlantic journey in 1780, when its namesake under Marquis de Lafayette's command helped to lay the foundation of French-American relations.
Lafayette persuaded French King Louis XVI to provide military and financial support to George Washington's troops. Lafayette set sail on March 21, 1780, arrived 38 days later in Boston, and played an important role in the revolutionaries' ultimate defeat of Britain.
French President Francois Hollande plans to take a short trip on the ship ahead of its official departure Saturday night.