Delve into the history of this historic site, an outstanding example of 17th century military architecture, built by Colbert for Louis XIV.
A new city in the 17th century, Rochefort was founded by Colbert in 1666. He wanted to make it the biggest maritime arsenal and hence develop the sea power of the Kingdom of France. The whole complex, built on the land in one of the last bends of the Charente River was fortified four years later.
From its inception, the Rochefort Arsenal built, armed and maintained many high ranking royal ships. Some of the greatest military and scientific expeditions set off from its port and certain innovations such as the submarine were built here. However, when the Arsenal no longer met the needs of a modern war fleet, it was closed down in 1926.
The first building to be completed was that of the magnificent Corderie Royale on which work began in 1666 and finished in 1669. It was the longest building in Europe at the time and was a rope-making factory. 374 metres long, the building was placed on a platform made of oak beams in order to compensate for the instability of the marshy terrain.
The rope factory continued its manufacturing activity until 1867, when the development of more modern techniques and the introduction of steel cables rendered it obsolete.
Come and discover the site and the rope-making process. Learn how to tie sailors’ knots.
« Plot at the Corderie Royale with the pirate L’Epervier »
Awarded the “Charente-Maritime Tourism Innovation Prize" in 2012, this experience turns the participants into the heroes of a story that is played out between them, L’Epervier, (the famous Pirate from the comic book series by Patrice Pellerin), characters in period dress, and the Corderie Royale buildings. A film shown on a big screen reveals the mission to be accomplished by the adventurers who are then launched into a full-scale role play armed with a Smartphone. The investigation lasts an hour and a half and takes participants back into the world of the 18th century Rochefort Arsenal. You don’t have a Smartphone? Free equipment is available on loan.*
* subject to availability