Photo Gallery | Jacksonville's 450th: French Ships Arrive for Tours

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Two tall ships are sailing into downtown Jacksonville Monday.

The ships, The Etoile and The Belle Poule, are French training schooners.  They have both been parts of the French Navy since February 1932 and are visiting Jacksonville as part of the 450th anniversary of the discovery of the St. Johns River.

French Huguenot Captain Jean Ribault sailed into the St. Johns on May 1, 1562.  He named it the "River of May," which is still reflected today by the name "Mayport." 

Both The Etoile and The Belle Poule will be docked along the Riverfront until Wednesday morning.  The ships will be open for free public tours, though the city has not released the tour schedule yet. 

City officials hope people will line the riverfront around noon today to welcome the vessels to the area. They encourage other boats in the water to sound their horns as the ships pass. 

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