Rochefort-en-Terre, Brittany: tourism & sightseeing
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Rochefort-en-Terre is a village on a raised promontory in the quiet countryside of the Morbihan department (south-west Brittany) between Vannes (to the west) and Redon (to the east). It is officially classified as one of the 'beautiful villages of France'.
France This Way comment: in our opinion the village well deserves this award (we find some are far more beautiful than others!) and along with Locronan is one of our favourite Brittany villages.
Park near the bottom of the village and then walk up through the village to appreciate the charming houses on the edge of town. When you get to the main street - the Rue du Porche you will be stunned by the beautiful architecture. The town is based around an attractive central square and main street which have some lovely ancient houses from the 17th century, a few in colombage but mostly built in the sturdy granite typical of the region. One of the most impressive is the Tour du Lion hotel, an imposing granite house with a tower in the Rue du Porche.
The attractive mix of colombage and granite, medieval and Renaissance means that most of the pleasure of a visit comes from simply strolling around the centre of Rochefort-en-Terre admiring the buildings and stopping for a coffee in one of the cafes but there are also two or three individual monuments that you should also pay attention to.
One notable monument in the town is the medieval castle, the Château de Rochefort-en-Terre. This beautiful building dates back to the 12th century but was badly damaged in the 1800s and only the facade is original. The castle was bought by an American painter Alfred Klotz in 1907 and he renovated the castle. His son inherited the castle and also painted here and invited his artist friends to come here to paint. When he died his wife gave the chateau to the French government.
The castle itself is open to the public from May to September and contains some paintings by Klotz. The gardens and park around the castle are open all year and free to enter. As well as getting to admire the beautiful castle you can enjoy the views over the surrounding countryside from its elevated position.
In the grounds of the castle you can visit the Naia museum named after the witch who once lived in the town. Inside is a small museum of art and sculpture.
The Church of Notre-Dame-de-la-Tronchaye is also interesting. Built originally in the 12th century using the local dark granite but largely rebuilt in the flamboyant gothic style in the 16th century the outside of the church has an unusual design - look along the sides of the church in particular. The interior also reflects the different periods in which the church was built and rebuilt and also includes a much more recent addition with very attractive 20th century stained-glass windows. The church is one street lower down than the main street.
As interesting as the church itself is the carved stone cross in the square in front of the church. This dates from the 16th century and the sculptures represent various Biblical stories.
The traditional village lavoir (ancient public linen washing area) is another historic monument in the centre of the village. After exploring the narrow streets that lead off from the village centre, you can return to one of the cafes in the main square which a very pleasant place to relax for a while after your explorations.
Rochefort-en-Terre is a '4* Ville Fleurie' (you might guess this from the flowers that are present pretty much everywhere you go in the town during summer, and soften the hardness of the granite buildings), which of course adds to the villages's charm. The tradition of decking the town out with geraniums every summer was started by Klotz who encouraged the locals to decorate their houses. It has also paid attention to its lighting of the ancient buildings so the town merits a second look after night has fallen.
If you are lucky enough to visit the village near Christmas time you will find it is like stepping into a Christmas card!
If you enjoy Rochefort-en-Terre we suggest you also visit the nearby village of Questembert and the riverside town of Redon, and if you like flowers and gardens there are two other 4* towns in bloom nearby, at La Vraie-Croix to the west and La Gacilly to the east.
Although Rochefort-en-Terre is some distance from the coast of Brittany, you can visit the small town of La Roche-Bernard to the south-east with its old village centre and pretty little port on the Vilaine river, and we highly recommend you also make the excursion to the lovely historic town of Vannes, south-east of here.
Map of Rochefort-en-Terre and places to visit
Visit near Rochefort-en-Terre with France This Way reviews
... or see ALL recommended places to visit in Morbihan
Rochefort-en-Terre is classified as a village in bloom (ville fleurie) 4*
Address: Rochefort-en-Terre, Vannes, Morbihan, Brittany, 56220, France || GPS: latitude 47.7, longitude -2.335
Rochefort-en-Terre reviews and comments
the best holiday of my life. more like a dream now.
Rochefort-en-Terre, France Rating: 5/5 Reviewed by Michael on
Plan your visit to Rochefort-en-Terre, Brittany
Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby
- Parc zoologique du château de Branféré: zoo or wildlife park (13km)
- La Vraie-Croix: ville fleurie 4* (16km)
- Île-aux-Pies: site of natural beauty (16km)
- La Gacilly: ville fleurie 4* (17km)
- Source - Rivière de Noyalo: site of natural beauty (18km)
- Marais de Vilaine: site of natural beauty (19km)
- Elven: village d'etape (19km)
- Réserve naturelle nationale des marais de Séné: site of natural beauty (30km)
- Passage Saint-Armel: site of natural beauty (31km)
- Embouchure - Rivière de Noyalo: site of natural beauty (31km)
The French version of this page is at Rochefort-en-Terre (Francais)