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Villeneuve-le-Roi: Shipyard Upper Seine, is created and repairs exceptional boat for a century

Villeneuve-le-Roi: Shipyard Upper Seine, is created and repairs exceptional boat for a century

You’ve surely noticed on the Seine. Symbols of Paris or France, they benefit tens of tourists every day of the finest monuments of the capital. When they need a makeover, these “riverboats” are sent to the site of the Upper Seine, Villeneuve-le-Roi.

Created in 1919, the largest inland shipyard in Ile-de-France celebrates its centenary.

“From birth, the place focused on the fluvial activity, due to its proximity to the Seine,” says its director, Frederick Motreff that we opened for the occasion.

The site was bought in 2005 by CEMEX, a Mexican company of building materials. The site thus has immense barges which convey concrete for the group. Barges very mobilized, in addition, as part of the Grand Paris work. But his activity can not reduce it: the shipyard for a century, it builds and repairs boats, pontoons and gangways.

Villeneuve-le-Roi, Tuesday. Bayard, one boat repaired on site the naval.LP / Simon Bartholomew

“50 employees work here full time. Boilermakers, welders, mechanics, diesel mechanics or electricians, “says Frédéric Motreff. The workers are divided on different boats on the construction site. That breaks down into several “blocks” (800, 500 and 150 tonnes) of which are “drawn dry” boats to be examined.

“They are almost all prototypes”

Only two covered spaces allow to refine the superstructure of the boat. “Most of the work concerns the walls of the shell, eaten away by the waves. After a complete wash out, then paint job, an expert measurement sheet and surrounds chalk swollen spots or sunken. ” Load welders then retouch the damaged parts. A trade for which the site demands excellence. “This is our backbone, because their work ensures the seal of the boat,” said Frederic Motreff.

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In 100 years, the site has produced exceptional pieces. Among the most recent: the chic bistro Alexander III, located in the Parisian bridge of the same name, the CROUS restaurant barge Paris and the tavern of Rosa Bonheur. But also the cultural pontoon Small Bath or that of Hall of Alfortville holidays. “None are similar: they are almost all prototypes,” says Frédéric Motreff.

Last outstanding work to date, the “Ducasse-sur-Seine”, launched in September 2018. Moored right bank in the XV Ie district of Paris, this restaurant ship 100% electric, long 38 meters, cost a whopping 11 million.

Villeneuve-le-Roi. A welder at work at the shipyard of the Upper Seine. DR

Once the architectural plans drawn up, the site can deliver a boat “turnkey” in record time. It advances the pace crazy one to two new buildings per year. What ensure sales result but the company refuses to disclose. The owner of the site simply concedes that “30% of revenue is provided by the fleet maintenance CEMEX, 60% by the Paris tourist boats,” whose business is flourishing. The remaining 10% are for repairs to individual and “sailors”, the name of those who live on the water.

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