We paid a visit to La Rochefoucauld yesterday. It is a charming little town a short drive east of Angouleme. It has more to it than a wonderful castle, which is often referred to as one of the most splendid in all of France. Have a look at my page on La Rochefoucauld in the section on towns and villages where I have some more of my photographs of other aspects of the town.
We also had lunch there and there is a review of the establishment, Cafe du Commerce, in the page on Restaurant reviews.
The reason it is called Rochefoucauld is because in 980 someone called Fucaldus decided to build a castle on a large rock which was close to the river Tardoire. This he made from timber. Fucaldus or Foucaulds was the younger brother of the Viscount of Limoges and according to Wikipedia, which is not 100% reliable, he was a direct descendant of Charlemagne. In fact it says that the Rochefoucauld family is only one of four French families with a direct lineage to Charlemagne. However somewhere else on the internet I read that by five generations after Charlemagne no direct descendants existed. Apparently it is possible for every European to be able to trace some line back to Charlemagne. This is true of every famous person if they are far enough back in time so a descendant of William the Conqueror or The Venerable Bede, ( maybe not, he was a monk so no rumpy pumpy for him) or Queen Boudicca – whoever you like can be your ancestor. It’s a bit like the concept that every breath of air you breathe in will have some molecules of oxygen which were in Hitler’s last breath, or Marylin Monroe’s last breath or whoever you like. It could be Hussain Bolt’s first breath after he won the 100 meters at the last Olympics. Apparently the athletes do not breateh for the 10 seconds it takes to run the race.
Anyway, I digress….quite a lot. Back to the Rochefoucaulds as they became known. Fucaldus’ son replaced the wooden castle in the 11th century with a stone structure and it was added to at intervals throughout history always remaining in the Rochefoucauld family.
Francois Le Rochefoucauld also known as Francois VI (1613-1680) was the most famous as he was a writer and famous for his maxims of which he wrote many and they are much admired. One I selected is “There are few virtuous women who are not tired of their part”
In the 1960’s part of the central keep or donjon collapsed. It is supposed to be being repaired but I did not see much evidence of that when I visited. Part of the castle is still occupied, I believe by Rochefoucaulds, part is a Chambre d’Hote and some is open to the public allegedly open every day of the year but not Tuesdays. See their website
Had a contact from a lady who lives in Rochefoucauld and has a make up salon which you might like to investigate. Her web site is http://www.careyhawkinsmakeup.com/
For posts on other villages and towns in Poitou-Charentes click here.