I was persuaded to visit Rochefort by our good friends from Virollet. It is a place I have skirted round many times, passing the aeroplane by the military area and once or twice even driving past the dock/marina area, but I have never stopped, got out of the car and had a look round.
So recently we spent a day doing Rochefort. I enjoyed it. Rochefort has a calm feel to it, I suppose one inevitably compares it to La Rochelle, which I have visited many times. Rochefort is more laid back, it is not ’the place to be seen’, which La Rochelle does seem to be.
We started and finished our day in the Place Colbert which is the main square and named after Jean Baptiste Colbert who set Rochefort up as a major naval base in 1665. There is quite a lot to see in Rochefort and with stopping for photos and eating and taking coffee and cakes we inevitably were not going to see everything.
We meandered down towards the Corderie Royale, which is a very long building on the edge of the docks and the Charente river where they made rope. This was of course quite an important component in ship construction especially in the days of sailing ships. At the time the Corderie Royal was constructed it was the longest building in Europe.
This lead us on to the boat yard where they are reconstructing a famous boat called L’Hermione, which sailed across the Atlantic to help the Americans kick up against British supervision of transatlantic affairs.
From here we took a pleasant walk along the banks of the Charente river. Here almost at the estuary it is quite a formidable body of water. We have followed it down from its source back up in Haut Vienne, through Vienne into Charente and then down to here in Charente-Maritime in a series of posts on this blog. There are still stretches to cover and report on but it was good to see the finish as we had journeyed up to the start only a few weeks earlier.
Now cutting back towards the centre of town we passed by the marina and the smart boats, in the area known as the Port de Plaisance de Rochefort.
Finally we chanced upon the little Potage du Roy gardens which though small are most interesting. Somewhere we took afternoon coffee and one of our number had room for a cake, this was despite all of us having taken lunch not so long before. So that was our day in Rochefort.
I will visit again because there is more to see and I actually rather enjoyed the more relaxed feel to the place. I look forward to visiting the Begonia conservatory and Maison Pierre Loti.
For more information and photos on each of the places we visited (highlighted) you can click on the highlight and be taken as if by magic to further pages to delight and entertain you. Well you will be able to in due course when I have prepared them all!