Rochefort celebrates 350 years of Naval History

Written by on March 30, 2016 in Poitou-Charentes

rochefort-hermione

2016 sees the 350th Anniversary Arsenal of Rochefort, Louis XIV’s naval dockyard.  In 1666 the king had the idea of creating his military naval base inland rather than on the coast – a little upstream on the Charente River and protected by the islands of Aix and Madame. The Ponant Arsenal was built which extended the reach of the town down to the estuary which was also protected by Fort Boyard, come 1866, as constructed by Napoleon.

rochefort-corderie

One of the most extraordinary aspects of the Arsenal is the incredible Corderie Royale, where ropes were once made in abundance and great length. It’s an incredible sight to see them still being made, the old machines looking as good as new and operated by knowledgeable and characterful staff.

rochefort-corderie-knot-display

Beware, if like me you’re always the first to volunteer, you might get roped in to help out. The staff really make the whole visit come alive with their displays of rope making and knot tying with help from the audience. There are thousands of different knots, no one can say for sure though some claim “there are as many knots as stars in the sky”, but it’s fascinating to watch the knots being created and to have a go yourself at this fun museum!

The Versailles of the Sea, as Rochefort is known, is today home to L’Hermione – a replica of the frigate that took French General LaFayette across the ocean to join the American War of Independence in 1780.

Read more about this incredible ship and her maiden journey to America, replicating that of Lafayette.

Now a living museum, visitors may experience L’Hermione throughout the year, apart from 4th June – 19th July when she will become a Marine Ambassador for the region at the Brest 2016 nautical show.

During her absence however, a replica of an eighteenth century Russian frigate under the naval command of Tsar Peter the Great, the Shtandart, will be on view in Rochefort between 4th June – 8th July 2016. There will also be a new ‘Accromâts’ high ropes experience which has been created, around maritime masts, opening in July.

2016 is also the Centenary of the French Fleet Air Arm. On the 21st & 22nd May 2016 a brand new Super Standard will arrive in Rochefort to recognise this landmark anniversary. There will be a special conference and exhibition of the stamps used for the warplane post as well as an opening up of the Naval Air Arm Museum in the Charente, so almost 4,000 square metres of space will be available to the public. Amongst other things, 33 aircraft will be on display from the Dewoitine 520 to the Super Frelon and Crusader.

Find out more at: www.en-charente-maritime.com

Related Articles

The Marais Poitevin of Poitou-Charentes

The quaint little country town of Coulon is home to the Maison du Marais Poitevin visitor centre and start point for boat tours in the Marais. Or to give it it’s full name, the Marais Poitevin, 18,553 hectares of waterway network. It was entirely created by man, close to the Atlantic coast, a little south […]

Continue Reading

Four really great family restaurants in Poitou-Charentes

Some of the best eating haunts in the Vendee and the Charente to suit all the family: Accommodating my little tribe and all that comes with them is never easy when it comes to eating out. This summer as usual we wandered in France including down through the Vendée, on to the Charente and out east to […]

Continue Reading

Boat ride on the Marais Poitevin

Boat ride on the Marais Poitevin

Written by on September 27, 2016 in Poitou-Charentes

Take a relaxing boat ride on the sleepy backwaters of the Marais Poitevin the Green Venice of Poitou-charentes which sits south of Fontenay le Comte, west of the medieval town of Niort and north east of La Rochelle. It’s part of a larger area (the Marais Poitevin) which is made up of dry marshlands and […]

Continue Reading

La Rochelle A Port for All Seasons

The mesmerising maritime town of La Rochelle has been winning fans for hundreds of years for good reason: beautiful buildings and streets, a picturesque port and plenty for visitors to see and do, not to mention the best seafood in France (probably!)…  Even arriving by train, you’re plunged straight into maritime La Rochelle. 1920s murals […]

Continue Reading

Insiders Guide to the Ile de Re

St Tropez on the French Riviera and the Ile de Ré, Charente-Maritime share several features – the same number of hours of sunshine for instance. Both attract a lot of tourists and celebrities in summer. But in other ways they could not be more different: bling-bling, showing off and the international jet-set on one side […]

Continue Reading

Subscribe

If you enjoyed this article, subscribe now to receive more just like it.

Subscribe via RSS Feed

Comments are closed.

Top