Argonaute, the flagship of the French Navy in the 1950s

Argonaute is a decommissioned submarine.

Argonaute submarine - La Villette
Argonaute submarine – La Villette

You’ll find it opposite the Sciences and Industry Museum and the Géode in the Parc de la Villette.

The 400 tonnes attack submarine, the flagship of the French Navy in the 1950s, was eventually disarmed on 31 July 1982.

Built in the arsenal of Cherbourg in Normandy, it was officially inaugurated under the name Argonaute on February 24, 1954.

All through the years, it accumulated an impressive 2,147 days at sea, 32,700 hours underwater and sailed 210,400 nautical miles or ten times around the Earth!

It therefore seemed ludicrous to send this superb submarine to the junk yard at the end of its career!

A decommissioned submarine turned museum

In December 1984, Charles Hernu, the Minister of Defence, and the General Staff of the French Navy, both agreed to bequeath the Argonaute to the “Amis du musée de la mer pour l’Atlantique” (Friends of the Atlantic Sea museum.)

Argonaute submarine - La Villette
Argonaute submarine – La Villette

The prestigious submarine has since joined a fleet of ancient ships fully maintained by this association, which is fully dedicated to the maintenance and safeguard of our French marine heritage.

The Argonaute started her last journey from the Rade de Toulon in July 1989.

It definitively landed in the Parc  de la Villette a few weeks later, in October.

However, its transfer required a lot of preparation.

Once dismantled, it was transported by barge pulled by a tugboat that traveled on the extensive network of French river canals.

Geode, Sciences Museum and Argonaute submarine in Parc de la Villette
Geode, Sciences Museum and Argonaute submarine

Once on the river Seine in Paris, it was put on blocks.

It was then reassembled and repainted so that the French Navy could pay her a last tribute.

The Argonaute is now a fascinating museum that attracts thousands of visitors each year.

An audio-guided tour will take you from the cockpit to the torpedo tube.

It will give you a good insight of the daily lives of the 40-man crew, but also the history and techniques of underwater warfare through a series of photos and equipment.

Directions: 19th district – 26 avenue Corentin Cariou
Metro: Porte de la Villette or Corentin Cariou on Line 7
Coordinates: Lat 48.894681 – Long 2.389616

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