Rochefort Place ColbertRochefort is only a short distance from the Atlantic coast and takes great pride in its illustrious maritime past. Rochefort was created in the 17th century by Colbert, built on the grid plan with regular ranks of identical houses but although you could say the town shows evidence of having been created by military mind, it nonetheless has great charm.

The central Place Colbert is very attractive and nearby the Rue Courbet is little changed from the 17th century with its cobblestones brought from Canada as ships’ ballast.

Rochefort Architecture

Rochefort Maritime MuseumProbably the best thing about Rochefort is the architecture with its private mansions and highly decorated facades along with its 3 wonderful museums: La Maison de Pierre Loti, Le Musee de la Marine, (Maritime Museum photo left) and the famous Corderie Royale rope factory (below right). In 1953 Rochefort’s thermal springs were reopened.

For anyone with a taste for the weird and wonderful, there is one great reason for visiting Rochefort: the house of the novelist Julian Viaud who always wrote under the pen name of Pierre Loti, a naval officer who penned numerous best-selling romances set in Oriental locations. The Maison Pierre Loti to be found at 141 rue Pierre Loti, looks from the outside a model of petit bourgeois conformity and respectability but inside you will find an outrageous series of rooms exotically themed and there’s even a medieval banqueting hall complete with a Gothic fireplace and Gobelin tapestries!

Corderie Royale RochefortApparently Loti was prone to throwing extravagant parties often a medieval banquet complete with swan meat and hedgehog. Often his guests would be asked to dress in Chinese garments – costumes brought back by Loti from China where he had taken part in the suppression of the Boxer Rebellion. You can read more on our special feature page about Pierre Loti in Rochefort

Rochefort History

Our page on the history of Rochefort brings into focus the unique role of the town in French maritime history as well as the American War Of Independence.