Rochefort, le Versailles de la mer
From the 17th century onwards, Rochefort was known in France as the maritime arsenal of the Sun King.
Indeed, the King’s Minister Colbert made Rochefort a strategic site, due to its location at the mouth of the Charente estuary. A colossal shipyard ran from Île d'Aix to Tonnay-Charente, devoted to shipbuilding and naval innovation, and known as the “Versailles of the sea”.
The most famous yard was that of the Hermione, on which La Fayette embarked in 1780. The site is now open to visitors from Monday to Sunday. There you can see the old ship with its 47-metre masts, which make the Hermione the biggest replica ship ever built in France. On foot, by bicycle or by car, come and visit the "Sentiers Arsenal", a series of signposted paths which you can follow to learn about the arsenal’s various functions.
Beyond the arsenal, many sites bear witness to Rochefort’s maritime past, such as the Corderie Royale (the Royal Rope-works) or the Hôpital Maritime (Maritime Hospital). Discover a splendid chapter in our history, just 45 min from the Camping la Grainetière ****.