Monday, February 23, 2015

Rochefort sur Mer

Driving back early on Sunday morning through Rochefort sur Mer, it struck me just how handsome this town is. On a crisp, clear, blue skied morning with not a soul to be seen, the architectural backdrop seemed so much more apparent.
Rochefort might not always feature on a tourists 'to see' list, being a little overshadowed by it's cosmopolitan seaside neighbour La Rochelle, but it is totally worthy of a visit with abundance of cultural and fascinating attractions.
Situated on the Charente river, it was built by Jean Baptiste Colbert as a place to supply and defend the French navy. Place Colbert is the central square where you can pause for coffee ( or something stronger), and ponder which attractions to see. 


Here are my top 5, in no particular order...


Musée Corderie Royale 


An astonishing and very long building built in 1670 that was once the centre of the docks in the town and also the centre of ropemaking for ships across France. At the corderie you can learn about the history of the site and also about the techniques involved in ropemaking. Well worth a short visit. You can even stop for a spot of lunch.


                           

                              

Pierre Loti Museum 

This highly regarded novelist was the French answer to Charles Dickens. He was accorded a state funeral when he died in 1923 and his house has been preserved as a museum featuring collections from his extensive travels. The museum is being renovated so will be looking more polished than ever.





Musée des commerces 

This fascinating museum will take you back 100 years to see superb replicas of shops, chemists, dentists and of course, a boulangerie. Perfect for all ages. I find it invaluable as it helps me to date many of the items on Chateau Chic. If you need further reason to go, it's ranked #1 on TripAdvisor.




L'Hermione 

Twenty years ago, a small group dreamed of reconstructing an exact replica of General Lafayette’s 18th-century ship called the Hermione. Today, the majestic vessel is the largest and most authentically built Tall Ship in the last 150 years. The Hermione has set sail in France, launching an adventure that comes to the USA in the summer of 2015 for an unprecedented voyage. An extraordinary project combining huge talent and dedication.
                           
                           



Pont Transbordeur

Transporter bridge The last of it's kind in France. This will appeal not only to engineering geeks but to the whole family. For a modest sum you can take the 'ferry' across the Charente river, grab an ice cream or cold beer at the café and come back again. 






So that's just a glimpse of what Rochefort sur Mer has to offer, but there's plenty more where that came from!



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