Rochefort and Aix on the Atlantic Coast of Poitou-Charentes

One of the most fascinating towns of Poitou-Charentes with its maritime heritage attractions, elegant boulevards and eclectic museums, Rochefort is tucked inside a loop of the Charente river.  Rochefort was a quiet fishing village until 1666 when ‘Sun King’ Louis XIV ordered the building of a royal dockyard and arsenal, it became a place of ‘refuge, defence and supply’ for the French navy.

Between 1666 and 1669 the king had the ‘Corderie Royale’ (at the time, the longest building in Europe) constructed to make cordage (ropes) for French war ships, production ceased in 1867, but today the royal rope factory is a unique (and very long) interactive museum.

Rochefort is also home to the exciting re-build of the Hermione – the ship that took Lafayette across the Atlantic in 1780 to assist General Washington in the American Civil War. In 1997, the vast and fascinating rebuilding project to bring the Hermione back to her forma glory began. Fifteen years later, this summer her impressive hull was launched, surrounded by a nautical extravaganza – a boat parade along the Charente River accompanied by one thousand children beating drums – quite a spectacle! The project is costing over 20 million Euros and is due for complete in two years time. On a visit to Rochefort, make sure you visit the shipyard to comprehend the enormity of the task and perhaps cheer on the hard-working craftsman!

Just off the Atlantic Coast between Rochefort and La Rochelle, Aix is an enchanting Island with only 200 people who call it their home. Car-free and just 3km long and 600 metres at its widest point, you can hire a bicycle or even tour in a horse-drawn carriage to absorb the stunning views, including Fort Boyard in the distance – a striking fort completed in 1857, now a listed building (sometimes known for gameshow ‘Fort Boyard’ in the 90’s and being shown currently).

Historically, Napoleon Bonaparte spent his last days on French soil on this Island in July 1815.  Today you can visit his house where he surrendered to the English. You can also visit the Mother of Pearl House – La Maison de Nacre and discover the island’s only craft industry. Visitors to Aix ultimately enjoy the rugged, coastal landscapes and the chance to get back to nature – is it the perfect hideout for those escaping the hustle and bustle of everyday life and best of all – there is no traffic!

Contributor:  Ali Bedford

CRT Poitou-Charentes is a client of Magellan PR.  Follow their tweets on @VisitPCharentes, on Facebook: AtlanticCoastCognacCountry or visit

Magellan PR is on twitter: @MagellanPR / on Facebook: MagellanPR / on Pinterest: Sue Lowry / on Google+:  Sue Lowry & MagellanPR and on Flickr: Sue Lowry.  For more information on our company, visit  Follow our other blog focussing on travel in the South of England – A3 Traveller.

About magellanstraits

Magellan Straits showcases the observations & musings from Magellan PR, a boutique travel & lifestyle agency founded in 1998. We post items that are of interest from the clients we promote and from the travels and experiences that we independently undertake.
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1 Response to Rochefort and Aix on the Atlantic Coast of Poitou-Charentes

  1. Pingback: The Atlantic Regions come to the rescue of European solidarity | Atlantic Arc Cities

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