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Rochefort

Tourism, holidays & weekends guide in the Charente-Maritime

Rochefort - Tourism, holidays & weekends guide in the Charente-Maritime
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On the banks of the Charente, Rochefort has kept many reminders of its glorious maritime past. This prestigious city, created by Colbert on the initiative of Louis XIV, owes its fame primarily to its military Arsenal, which produced 550 ships over two-and-a-half centuries.

It is here that the Hermione, the legendary frigate that carried the Marquis de La Fayette, was built. Its amazing replica, built thanks to a community project using the materials and techniques of the time, was completed in 2015 after 18 years of work. Today, it's a fascinating attraction for children and adults to visit.

Housed in a superb 17th-century building measuring 374 metres in length, the Royal Rope Works is an important part of Rochefort's maritime history. This factory, which manufactured ropes for the French Royal Navy, now houses the International Sea Centre.

The National Navy Museum is located in the Hôtel de Cheusses mansion, one of the oldest buildings in the city. It has a hundred or so scale models and collections about the Arsenal's history to discover. The former School of Naval Medicine, founded in 1722, was the first in the world to train surgeons to serve on warships.

The unusual house where Pierre Loti was born is now a museum exhibiting objects and exotic memorabilia that belonged to the famous writer and naval officer from Rochefort. The Museum of Old-time Businesses, with reconstructions of workshops and shops from 1900 to 1945, is also worth a visit, as is the Museum of Art and History, housed in the Hôtel Hèbre, a beautiful 18th-century mansion.

In Rochefort, you can also admire the built heritage, which has earned it the label of Town of Art and History, its marina and natural areas, including the Garden of Returns, the banks of the Charente and the Begonia Conservatory.

Additional information
Rochefort

Also known as Rochefort-sur-Mer, the city of Rochefort takes place in New-Aquitaine, in the department of Charente-Maritime. Located in a loop of the Charente, it is about ten kilometers of the Atlantic coast, not far from La Rochelle, Fouras or Surgères.

City of Art and History, the town was created in the second half of the 17th century, in 1666, with the establishment of an important military arsenal. Now the region's second largest economic hub, it has long been home to many naval and military schools. Following the closure of the arsenal in the early twentieth century, the city of Rochefort has mainly turned to tourism.

It reveals an important architectural heritage that reveals beautiful monuments dating from the construction of the city. Thermal city, with waters exploited since the 1950s, Rochefort is also appreciated for its proximity to the beaches and the most beautiful sights of Charente.

Things to see and do

As a candidate for UNESCO World Heritage, the arsenal of Rochefort still stands proudly in the city of which it is the origin. One can admire in particular the monumental gate of the Sun raised in 1831 in the form of arch of triumph. Serving as an entrance to the building, it allows access to the king's house, general stores, the avant-garde or the royal cordage. The latter, created in the 17th century as the rest of the arsenal, is one of the most important buildings. Located on the banks of the Charente, it stretches more than 730 meters and today welcomes the museographic space of the international center of the sea. You will discover at first the Marine Museum unveiling models of vessels produced To the arsenal, as well as objects telling the history of the maritime economy of Rochefort. Upstairs, wood caryatids formerly installed in prow of ships are unveiled. The site also allows to discover the construction workshop of the replica of the Hermione, a warship of the 18th century which allowed La Fayette to join the American conflict, as well as the Naval Commissariat being renovated. The building has been classified as a Historic Monument.

Built at the beginning of the 18th century, the signal tower was originally the bell tower of the Saint-Louis church. A semaphore was installed there during the 19th century, and now serves as a multimedia space for the city of Rochefort.

The ancient water tower of Rochefort, which operated until the 1950s, was built at the end of the nineteenth century. Of neo-classical style, it once presented the ancient ramparts of the city today destroyed. One can still admire some vestiges of the fortifications, in particular a watchtower placed at the edge of the course Roy-Bry.

Central square of the city of Rochefort, the place Colbert was originally a meadow to feed the animals. You can admire beautiful neoclassical facades, as well as rocaille balconies, or even private mansions of great interest. In the center, a fountain of crowned stone still stands proudly, and since the eighteenth century. A tide clock has been installed nearby.

Cultural sites are not lacking in Rochefort, starting with the home of Pierre Loti, famous author of Fishermen of Iceland. His native house was the scene of many memorable festivals and one can admire rooms full of exoticism inspired by the Gothic, Renaissance or Far East. Located in the former naval hospital, the Old School of Naval Medicine unveils a rich scientific library, as well as collections of materials used in the teaching of naval medicine. Museum of art and history, the Hèbre museum of Saint-Clément offers archaeological collections, a floor on the history of the city and its creation, or extra-European collections devoted to the cultures of Asia, Oceania or Africa. You will also find the Museum of Stores of the past with a collection of advertising objects in a reconstitution of shops of the Belle Epoque, as well as the museum of the Old parish and its archaeological collections.

Green city and rich in natural spaces, Rochefort unveils to its visitors the beautiful gardens of the Returns which evoke the great expeditions of the eighteenth and nineteenth century. They include the reconstruction of a ship's bridge, as well as models of lively boats. The Conservatoire du Bégonia highlights this plant named in homage to the seigneur of Marine of the seventeenth century, Bégon.

To discover part of the heritage of Rochefort, do not hesitate to take the chemin de la Charente. Ten kilometers long, it extends from the Corderie royale to the Pont-Neuf.

Places of interest

Information points
Leisure centres
Monuments
Performance halls
Transport

Events and festivities

The market of Rochefort is held every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday morning. A fair takes place on the second Thursday of each month. A Christmas market is also organized in December.

In March and November, Rochefort hosts its fair, three weeks at each session.

Festival of Cinema and Literature, Rochefort Pacific takes place from late March to early April, unveiling screenings, meetings or lectures on Pacific islands.

Music Festival, In unpredictable and unexpected deals offers concerts of world music, jazz, rock or folk in Rochefort, Cabariot and Saint-Hippolyte.

In early August, Summersound is an electro music festival featuring several concerts.

At the beginning of September, place at Roch'fort in bubbles, comic book festival.

Rochefort in Moovement is a festival of urban cultures of the month of October.

On the Road to Teen Literature
Flash Visit in French: Focus on the Architecture of the Hôtel de Cheusses and Naval Sculpture
Fête de la Musique in Rochefort Océan
Music Festival - alx & Voice in Colors
France v Netherlands Broadcast
Fête de la Musique - Square Parat - Harmonie Départementale 17
Gourmet Cruise on the Charente in a Sailboat Past the Corderie Royale
Concert of Gregorian Chants
Fête de la Musique - 80s Evening
Happy Boat Market #2

Photos

Rochefort (© Frantz)
Rochefort (© Frantz)
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Rochefort, next to the royal cordage
Rochefort, next to the royal cordage
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Rochefort
Rochefort
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The ladies of Rochefort
The ladies of Rochefort
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Rochefort (© Frantz)
Rochefort (© Frantz)
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The Hermione, at Rochefort
The Hermione, at Rochefort
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Rochefort (© Frantz)
Rochefort (© Frantz)
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Rochefort, city of Begonia
Rochefort, city of Begonia
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Rochefort (© Frantz)
Rochefort (© Frantz)
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Rochefort (© Frantz)
Rochefort (© Frantz)
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Rochefort (© Frantz)
Rochefort (© Frantz)
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Rochefort (© Frantz)
Rochefort (© Frantz)
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Flight over the Transporter Bridge
Flight over the Transporter Bridge
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Rochefort (© Frantz)
Rochefort (© Frantz)
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Rochefort (© Frantz)
Rochefort (© Frantz)
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Rochefort (© Frantz)
Rochefort (© Frantz)
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Rochefort (© Frantz)
Rochefort (© Frantz)
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Visits, leisure and activities nearby

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