Colbert, Louis XIV’s navy minister, built Rochefort in the seventeenth century to repel the English and watch over Protestant-leaning La Rochelle. It remained an important naval base for centuries, with its shipyards, sail-makers, munition factories and a hospital. Built on a strict grid plan, the town is a monument to the tidiness of the military mind. Place Colbert is just as the seventeenth century left it, complete with lime trees, and cobblestones brought from Canada as ships’ ballast. The banks of the Charente river are beautiful, dominated by the eighteenth-century Royal Ropeworks and the stark, majestic Transporter Bridge, built in 1900.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

France features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

The world's quirkiest food festivals

The world's quirkiest food festivals

Tomato-drenched crowds wading through a lake of passata at Valencia’s La Tomatina festival might be a familiar image, but such passionate and eccentric cele…

22 Dec 2017 • Lucy Cowie insert_drive_file Article
Ebikes: are they worth the hype?

Ebikes: are they worth the hype?

Though they may be sniffed at by "real" cylists, e-bikes are opening up serious mountain routes to the more casual pedaller. Andy Turner dons some lycra to find…

27 Oct 2017 • Andy Turner local_activity Special feature
20 seriously weird places around the world

20 seriously weird places around the world

The world is a weird (and wonderful) place. And from a rose-coloured lake to a Japanese island ruled by cats, we've got twenty pictures to prove it. 1. Spotted…

26 Jul 2017 • Rachel Mills camera_alt Gallery
View more featureschevron_right