Visit Rochefort (Poitou-Charentes, France)
Rochefort is a town on the Atlantic Coast to the south-east of La Rochelle, in the Charente-Maritime department of the Poitou-Charentes. The town developed around its military harbour when Louis XIV, in the 17th century, had an important naval base built here on what was previously a region of swamps and marshes.
The town itself was built up around the harbour and naval buildings as a carefully planned 'new town' and the straight lines of houses remain much as they were originally laid out.
The Arsenal and Corderie of Rochefort
The large 17th century buildings that include the arsenal and the corderie are on the banks of the Charente river and have been fully renovated as a tourist attraction in recent years and are the main reason to visit the town - the ensemble of buildings is now a listed Historic Monument. The gardens around the buildings have also been restored. The main parts to the site are:
- The Corderie Royale, a substantial building built in 1670 that was once the centre of the docks in the town and also the centre of ropemaking for ships across France, until ropes on ships were finally replaced by chains. At the corderie you can learn about the history of the site and also about the techniques involved in ropemaking
- The arsenal and the port of Rochefort itself, which was a very important location for making naval warships from 1690 until the 19th century. The grand buildings provide an elegant backdrop to the attractive harbour which is now used as a pleasure port
- Le Chantier d'Hermione, where a splendid 18th century ship, the Hermione, is being meticulously recreated, and you can see the impressive work in progress. The 'original' Hermione set off in 1780 for America, carrying Lafayette en route to help the Americans in their struggle for independence.
The largest maket in the region is found in the market halls of Rochefort and along the Avenue Charles-de-Gaulle every tuesday, thursday and saturday morning.
A Marine Museum in the town explains more of the history of how Rochefort developed - it is situated in the Hôtel de Cheusses and the Hôtel de la Marquise d’Amblimont.
The town also has an important thermal spa centre.
To explore the region around the town, you can follow a path for several kilometres along the banks of the Charente river. There are other paths that enable you to explore the unique natural environment of the marshes near Rochefort.
Photos taken within 10 km
Tourist classifications for Rochefort
Rochefort is classified as a listed town of Art and History
Address: Rochefort, Charente-Maritime, Poitou-Charentes, 17300 || GPS: latitude 45.942, longitude -0.965
Map of Rochefort & places nearby
Highlights close by
Suggested tourist attractions to visit near Rochefort, France
- Brouage Fortifications - grand site of france (13km)
- La Roche Courbon - remarkable garden (19km)
- Mornac-sur-Seudre - most beautiful village (26km)
- Jardins de la Boirie - remarkable garden (26km)
- Aquarium de La Rochelle - aquarium (28km)
- La Rochelle - secteur sauvegarde (28km)
- Eglise de Saint-Savinien (Fenioux) - religious monument (29km)
- Zoo de la Palmyre - zoo or wildlife park (32km)
- Saintes - town of art and history (33km)
- Saintes basilique St Eutrope (monuments on French pilgrim routes) - heritage site (33km)
Market days in Rochefort: Regular market(s) are held in Rochefort each Tuesday and Thurday. (Markets are held in the morning unless stated.)
The French version of this page is at Rochefort (Francais)