My 2 days in…Rochefort

A must-do stopover on the Atlantic Coast situated 35km southeast of La Rochelle, Rochefort has a rich maritime heritage. Let me take you on a visit to the Corderie Royale, the Maritime Museum or the Hermione, where everywhere you turn the world of the sea is present.

Musée de la Marine

Day 1

The National Maritime Museum

If you really want to understand the Maritime Arsenal in Rochefort your first stop should be the National Maritime Museum. Located in the “Hôtel de Cheusses” - former residence of Royal Navy Commanders - it exhibits old models of ships, machines, tools, paintings and countless testimonies and documents.

Full rate: €6,50, reduced rate: €5,50. Tel.: +33 (0)5 46 99 86 57. www.musee-marine.fr

La Corderie Royale

The Corderie Royale

In the heart of the Arsenal, the Corderie Royale is a magnificent building that stretches over 374 metres. Push the doors of this manufactory, where the ropes for the big Royal Navy ships were made, and you'll be instantly plunged into the atmosphere, probably due to the distinct odour of the vegetal fibres. In the workshops you'll discover the crafts of spinners, stranders, knot and rope tiers...

Pass Arsenal des Mers

L’Hermione et l’Accrô-mats

The Hermione and Accro-masts

The Hermione: a famous frigate used by the Marquis de La Fayette to support the American independents in 1780. Result of over seventeen years work, today the Hermione is the biggest replica of an ancient vessel ever rebuilt in France. Inspired by the experience, find out what is was like to be a deckhand at the neighbouring Accro-masts adventure park in the shape of a frigate. Acrobatic thrills and a taste of life at sea guaranteed on the ship's deck. Welcome aboard sailor!

To recover from your emotions, take a stroll through the Jardin des Retours garden that runs the length of the Corderie Royale. Designed by the landscaper Bernard Lassus it has plenty of relaxing views over the Charente river. Then why not stop for lunch in the harbour.

In the evening, take in a show at La Coupe d’Or, a superb 17th century Italian-style theatre.
Check out the programme at www.theatre-coupedor.com*

Rochefort - place Colbert

Day 2

The Bird “Sanctuary”

On the banks of the Charente, the lagoon station treats the sewage and water waste from Rochefort in an economically and environmentally-friendly way. It is also a great spot for sea birds. Take a silent walk around this 70-hectare site to discover this out-of-the-ordinary ornithological spot. Don't forget your binoculars!

Nature Space. Tel.: +33 (0)5 46 82 12 44. Full rate: €6; reduced rate : €5. Free for the under 10.

A walk around town

Built around a checkerboard plan, Rochefort took on its finished appearance thanks to Michel Bégon (Navy Intendent 1688-1710) when he organised the rebuilding of the town in cut stone. Make the most of a stroll through the streets and squares to get a full picture of the architecture and layout. Don't miss the Place Colbert, famous as the setting for cult French film “Les Demoiselles de Rochefort” by Jacques Demy, with Catherine Deneuve and Françoise Dorléac.

Enjoy a refreshing drink or a bite to eat on one of the many terraces.

In the evening, treat yourself to a night visit of local history with the Noctambulations: an entertaining and out-of-the-ordinary experience that I would highly recommend!

Noctambulations, every Tuesday in July (9.30pm) and August (9.00pm). www.rochefort-ocean.com

Rochefort 

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Fort Boyard

The Fort Boyard is a key element of the Naval Dockyard of Rochefort which extends all along the estuary of the Charente.
If the construction of this fortification on the "Longe of Boyard" was considered as early as the seventeenth century, the project only really started in the course of the 19th century. Built with the aim of protecting the harbor, the mouth of the Charente and especially the large dockayrd of Rochefort from the assaults of the English navy, the Fort was transformed into a prison a few years after its completion.


The Fort has been classified as an historic monument since 1950.


The Fort is 68 metres long on 31 metres large, for a total surface area of 2689 square metres. The surrounding walls peak at 20 metres. The fort is also built on a sandbak called "Longe of Boyard" which gave its name to the Fort itself.


Since 1990, Fort Boyard has been the location of a television game of the same name.


Located between the islands of Aix and Oléron, the Fort Boyard is part of the territory of Rochefort-Océan. Many departures of cruises are possible to bypass the Fort (from Port-des-Barques, Fouras-les-Bains or the Island of Aix).

The cruise

Longe de Boyard 17123 Île-d'Aix
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- Infiniment Charentes -
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Orientation course Île d'Aix

Take one of the 3 orienteering courses to do on the on the island of Aix. Thanks to the map, find the markers in a given sector and punch your sheet.

Office de tourisme Île d'Aix 6 rue Gourgaud 17123 Île-d'Aix
- Infiniment Charentes -
- Infiniment Charentes -
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Orientation course Port-des-Barques

Take one of the 3 orienteering courses on the Port-des-Barques peninsula with you! Thanks to the map, find the markers in a given sector and punch your sheet.

Office de tourisme de Port-des-Barques place des Blagueurs 17730 Port-des-Barques
- Infiniment Charentes -
- Infiniment Charentes -
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Rochefort Océan Tourist Office - Ile d'Aix Tourist Information Office

The Tourist Office offers the following services:

- reception and information

- free wifi internet access2

- ticketing for museums, guided tours and events, cruises, transport

- The Rochefort Océan Privilege card free of charge for the discounted purchase of 2 services simultaneously : Activities, visits, cruises, bike rental, bus, boat ...


This site is labeled Tourisme & Handicap (mental, auditory) and classified category 1, labeled Quality Tourism.

8 rue Gourgaud 17123 Île-d'Aix
Du 10/04/2022 au 06/07/2022
- Infiniment Charentes -
- Infiniment Charentes -
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The House of the Mother-of-Pearl

Discover the one and only know-how of one of the last nacre makers of France, the unique handmade speciality of the island with more than 60 years eperience.
The House of the Mother of Pearl has been existing since 1954, and is specialized in the transformation of shells into various objects, including jewels.


A sales and exhibit area

- An illustrated museum featuring twenty display cabinets

- A workshop and a meeting with a mother of pearl craftsman.

Here, you will learn about the life of marine molluscs and the constitution of their shell, the different stages of shaping of this rare and noble material. Furthermore, you will admire original creations.

Place de l'Église 17123 Île-d'Aix
Du 01/04/2022 au 30/06/2022
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- Infiniment Charentes -
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Church and Priory Saint-Martin

The Abbey of Cluny establish in 1067 the Church and the Priory Saint-Martin.
The Abbey of Cluny establish in 1067 the Church and the Priory Saint-Martin. For nearly three centuries, the monastic community of Aix Island, extended its spiritual influence on La Rochelle and its region by governing a large number of parishes.


However, because of the intensification of the conflicts between France and England, the priory, repeatedly plundered and damaged, was abandoned in 1343. Of the whole church, only the eastern wing of the priory remains today, and the transept, the northern apse and the crypt of the church. The crypt, which certainly dates back to the foundation of the church, testifies of the religious history of the island.

rue Gourgaud 17123 Île-d'Aix
- Infiniment Charentes -
- Infiniment Charentes -