Napoleon’s own rowing boat

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Napoleon\'s famouse canot at he Musee de la Marine, Paris

Napoleon\'s famous canot at the Musee de la Marine, Paris Napoleon\'s famous canot at the Musee de la Marine, Paris

Napoleon\'s famous canot at the Musee de la Marine, Paris Napoleon\'s famous canot at the Musee de la Marine, Paris

Views of Napoleon’s famous canot at the Musee de la Marine, Paris.
Truly a boat fit for an emperor!

On entering the Paris Musée de la Marine, the first thing the visitor sees is Napoleon’s wonderful canot – and it hits you right between the eyes. The gilding is fantastic, even down to the fish that adorn each of the oars.

What do you think – does it represent a challenge to amateur boatbuilders?

The canot was apparently built in secret and used by the emperor and his young empress Marie-Louise to inspect his fleet at what the museum authorities are pleased to call the Port of Anvers in 1810 – though the people who live there call it Antwerpen, while anglophones generally use the name Antwerp. I’ll put up a post about a painting of that event in a few days.

Of course there are lots of other things to see and do in Paris, as the Rough Guide to Paris makes clear!

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The sad deaths of Just Buisson and a young helper by exploding rocket boat, Paris 1886

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Buisson and his assistant’s sad death by exploding rocket boat, 1886

The rocket boat explodes into a thousand pieces

It’s clearly French Week at intheboatshed.net, as we limber up for a lightning trip to Paris on Friday. This engraving depicts the explosion that killed the rocket power experimenter Just Buisson and a young helper, and badly burned his assistant Al Ciurcu a little way downstream from the Pont de Clichy bridge in 1886. Ciurcu recovered and continued with his rocket development work, by the way. I’d never for a second imagined that I might see a rocket engine in a clinker-built boat!

The basic boat was designed and built with displacement for a crew of six oarsmen.

The engraving below shows what the boat looked like before the explosion. For more on Buisson, a photo of his boat and a discussion of early rocket development generally, click here.

Just Buisson’s sad death by exploding rocket boat, 1886

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A sweet, romantic little rowing toy

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Video or rowing toy at the Paris Musee de la Marine

Wind-up rowing toy at Chris Partridge’s weblog Rowing for Pleasure

Chris Partridge reports that he found this video of a sweet and romantic wind-up rowing toy at the website of the Musee de la Marine in Paris. As it happens, I’m going to Paris next weekend, so maybe I should take my camera down to the museum.

Thanks for a really good idea Chris!