La Charente Maritime
5 minutes pour découvrir la Charente Maritime

Between the land and the sea!     

Rochefort-sur-Mer has no sea view, but it does have a harbour! The Charente has linked this town to the Atlantic, 20km away, for more than three centuries. Its mouth, sheltered by the Ile de Ré, Ile d’Oléron and Ile d’Aix makes it a strategic point. Rochefort would thus be chosen by Colbert to become the largest military arsenal of the French Kingdom. Here, for 250 years, more than 350 vessels were built, armed and maintained.

La Corderie Royale (Royal Rope makers)

Many traces of this illustrious past remain in Rochefort. The most famous is without question the Corderie Royale – where ropes were made for the Navy – is a magnificent, entirely renovated maritime heritage site, today housing the Centre International de la Mer (International Sea Centre). The Corderie Royale holds exhibitions and has a specialised library. Just nearby can be found the famous shipyard of the Hermione, frigate of La Fayette, where, since 1997, a replica is being built of this magnificent 45m-long, triple-masted ship, built in Rochefort in 1779. Bordering the Corderie Royale, the ‘Jardin des Retours’ (Garden of Returns) is a contemporary creation that celebrates this era when boats came back with their holds full of unknown plants. Through this, along the Charente reeds, willows and hazelnut trees rub shoulders with magnolias, tulips and many others besides.

La Maison de Pierre Loti (Pierre Loti’s House)

The town centre of Rochefort, where the famous musical comedy ‘Demoiselles de Rochefort’ (The Young Girls of Rochefort) was filmed and that is still very active today, has an authentic charm. The Place Colbert and parallel streets conceal a rich past, such as the house of Pierre Loti, an exuberant and whimsical residence in the image of this Rochefort-born traveller-writer.

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