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Rochefort - an historic naval town

The town of Rochefort, which is located in the Charente-Maritime department of western France, is a town with a long and fascinating naval history. This history is evident today, and you can still visit the old naval dockyard and the rope making factory, which were of huge importance in their time. Lying just inland from the Atlantic Ocean, Rochefort is situated in delightful countryside as well as having excellent access to the beautiful beaches of France's west coast.

Bringing history to life

If you like to learn something when you are in a French town then this is the place for you. Children in particular will benefit from the educational opportunities offered by a tour of the old rope making factory, where the importance of the industry and the processes used are explained in a lively and entertaining fashion. History is also brought vividly to life by the full sized construction of a frigate, Hermione, which used to belong to the Marquis de Lafayette during the American Wars of Independence. It is also possible to visit the old naval dockyard, once of such significance, and which was the reason that Rochefort developed into the sizeable town that it is today. Another of Rochefort's connections to history is seen in the house of the writer Pierre Loti, which is open to visitors.

Rochefort is modern too...

Rochefort isn't just all about the past, though, as there are plenty of modern day amenities and pleasures to be found there as well as evidence of days gone by! The town centre is equipped with many fashionable shops as well as supermarkets and typical French delights such as boulangeries, patisseries and chocolateries, and there are numerous very good restaurants and bars too, so socialising is a real joy. Try the excellent freshly caught seafood (the region is known for its locally farmed oysters), and the locally produced drinks, Cognac and Pineau.

Things to see, places to go...

Once you have done the historical tours and are looking for something a little different to fill your time, you could try visiting the nature and bird reserves, the nearby beaches, the oyster farms or perhaps bring a little colour into your days with a visit to the largest begonia nursery in France. Rochefort also has some very good markets, with general markets held every Thursday and Saturday, and a fish market every day.

Sports on offer

If you are a sports fan you will find no shortage of activities to suit you in or near Rochefort. There are golf courses, tennis courts, swimming pools, animal parks and many, many more sea and land based activities around and about.

How to get there

The airport at nearby La Rochelle, with services from easyJet, Ryanair and flybe, makes it really easy to reach Rochefort from the UK. Should you wish to travel by train this is also possible as the town has a rather attractive and unusual Art Deco station.

Property prices and availability in and around Rochefort

The Charente-Maritime is becoming a very popular alternative to the overbought and frequently overpriced Dordogne, and prices are now rising in accordance. It is still possible, however to find some real bargains in the region, and there are still a good number of development projects on the market. As Rochefort is close to the sea, rental values are high and this provides an opportunity to offset some of the original cost of buying and renovation.

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Rochefort AT A GLANCE

WHERE IS Rochefort?

Rochefort is found in the west of France, just inland from the Atlantic Ocean. It lies in the west of the Charente-Maritime department.

Rochefort Property Map

IN THE REGION OF POITOU-CHARENTES

Poitou-Charentes Guide

Poitou-Charentes Property Map

IN THE DEPARTMENT OF CHARENTE-MARITIME

Charente-Maritime Guide

  Charente-Maritime Map


Population: 26,000


Access: By air: Fly to La Rochelle with Ryanair, flybe or easyJet. By rail: There is a station at Rochefort, so train ravel is another option.


Economy: The economy is largely concerned with tourism these days, although in the past it was a major naval centre and an important rope making centre of industry.


Interesting fact: There is a life sized reconstruction of the Marquis de la Lafayette's frigate, Hermione, under construction in the town, and this is open to the public.

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