Rochefort, Charente-Maritime

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Port de Rochefort.JPG
Port in Rochefort
Blason ville fr Rochefort (Charente-Maritime).svg
Location of Rochefort
Rochefort, Charente-Maritime
France location map-Regions and departements-2016.svg
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Aquitaine-Limousin-Poitou-Charentes region location map.svg
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Coordinates: 45°56′32″N0°57′32″W / 45.9421°N 0.9588°W / 45.9421; -0.9588
Country France
Region Nouvelle-Aquitaine
Department Charente-Maritime
Arrondissement Rochefort
Canton Rochefort
Intercommunality CA Rochefort Océan
  Mayor (20202026) Hervé Blanché [1]
21.95 km2 (8.47 sq mi)
 (Jan. 2020) [2]
  Density1,100/km2 (2,800/sq mi)
Time zone UTC+01:00 (CET)
  Summer (DST) UTC+02:00 (CEST)
INSEE/Postal code
17299 /17300
Elevation0–29 m (0–95 ft)
(avg. 5 m or 16 ft)
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km2 (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.

Rochefort (French pronunciation: [ʁɔʃfɔʁ] ; Occitan : Ròchafòrt), unofficially Rochefort-sur-Mer (French pronunciation: [ʁɔʃfɔʁsyʁmɛʁ] ; Occitan: Ròchafòrt de Mar) for disambiguation, is a city and commune in Southwestern France, a port on the Charente estuary. It is a subprefecture of the Charente-Maritime department, located in the administrative region of Nouvelle-Aquitaine (before 2015: Poitou-Charentes).



Rochefort lies on the river Charente, close to its outflow into the Atlantic Ocean. It is about 30 km southeast of La Rochelle. Rochefort station has rail connections to La Rochelle, Nantes and Bordeaux.


In December 1665, Rochefort was chosen by Jean-Baptiste Colbert as a place of "refuge, defence and supply" for the French Navy. The Arsenal de Rochefort served as a naval base and dockyard until it closed in 1926.

In September 1757, Rochefort was the target of an ambitious British raid during the Seven Years' War.

Rochefort (centre-right) seen from Spot Satellite Rochefort SPOT 1146.jpg
Rochefort (centre-right) seen from Spot Satellite

Another infrastructure of early Rochefort from 1766 was its bagne, a high-security penal colony involving hard labour. Bagnes were then common fixtures in military harbors and naval bases, such as Toulon or Brest, because they provided free labor. During the Jacobin period of the French Revolution (1790–95), over 800 Roman Catholic priests and other clergy who refused to take the anti-Papal oath of the "Civil Constitution of the Clergy" were put aboard a fleet of prison ships in Rochefort harbour, where most died due to inhumane conditions.

Off Rochefort, from the island of Île-d'Aix where he had spent several days hoping to flee to America, Napoleon Bonaparte surrendered to Captain F. L. Maitland aboard HMS Bellerophon, on 17 July 1815, ending the "Hundred Days".

Rochefort is a notable example of 17th-century "ville nouvelle" or new town, which means its design and building resulted from a political decree. The reason for building Rochefort was to a large extent that royal power could hardly depend on rebellious Protestant La Rochelle, which Cardinal Richelieu had to besiege a few decades earlier. Well into the 20th century, Rochefort remained primarily a garrison town. The tourist industry, which had long existed due to the town's spa, gained emphasis in the 1990s.


Historical population
YearPop.±% p.a.
1793 20,874    
1800 15,000−4.61%
1806 14,615−0.43%
1821 12,389−1.10%
1831 14,040+1.26%
1836 15,441+1.92%
1841 20,077+5.39%
1846 21,738+1.60%
1851 24,330+2.28%
1856 28,998+3.57%
1861 30,212+0.82%
1866 30,151−0.04%
1872 28,299−1.05%
1876 27,012−1.16%
1881 27,854+0.62%
1886 31,256+2.33%
1891 33,334+1.30%
1896 34,392+0.63%
YearPop.±% p.a.
1901 36,458+1.17%
1906 36,694+0.13%
1911 35,019−0.93%
1921 29,473−1.71%
1926 28,275−0.83%
1931 26,452−1.32%
1936 29,482+2.19%
1946 29,472−0.00%
1954 30,858+0.58%
1962 28,648−0.92%
1968 29,226+0.33%
1975 28,155−0.53%
1982 26,167−1.04%
1990 25,561−0.29%
1999 25,797+0.10%
2009 25,317−0.19%
2014 24,300−0.82%
2020 23,410−0.62%
Source: EHESS [3] and INSEE (1968-2020) [4]


Rochefort arsenal, in 1690

Noteworthy buildings of the original naval establishment include:

Other sights include:

Notable inhabitants

Pierre Loti, 1892 Pierre Loti en academicien.jpg
Pierre Loti, 1892

Rochefort was the birthplace of:

International relations

Rochefort is twinned with: [6]

See also

Related Research Articles

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Charente-Maritime is a département in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region on the southwestern coast of France. Named after the river Charente, its prefecture is La Rochelle. As of 2019, it had a population of 651,358 with an area of 6,864 square kilometres.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Oléron</span> French coastal island

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Poitou-Charentes</span> Region of France

Poitou-Charentes was an administrative region on the southwest coast of France. It is part of the new region Nouvelle-Aquitaine. It comprised four departments: Charente, Charente-Maritime, Deux-Sèvres and Vienne. It included the historical provinces of Angoumois, Aunis, Saintonge and Poitou.

Saintes is a commune and historic town in western France, in the Charente-Maritime department of which it is a sub-prefecture, in Nouvelle-Aquitaine. Its inhabitants are called Saintaises and Saintais. Saintes is the second-largest city in Charente-Maritime, with 26,470 inhabitants in 2008. The city's immediate surroundings form the second-most populous metropolitan area in the department, with 56,598 inhabitants. While a majority of the surrounding landscape consists of fertile, productive fields, a significant minority of the region remains forested, its natural state.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Aunis</span> Place in France

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Arrondissements of the Charente-Maritime department</span>

The 5 arrondissements of the Charente-Maritime department are:

  1. Arrondissement of Jonzac, with 129 communes. The population of the arrondissement was 67,989 in 2016.
  2. Arrondissement of Rochefort, with 78 communes. The population of the arrondissement was 189,875 in 2013.
  3. Arrondissement of La Rochelle, with 58 communes. The population of the arrondissement was 215,707 in 2016.
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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Arrondissement of Rochefort</span> Arrondissement in Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France

The arrondissement of Rochefort is an arrondissement (district) in the Charente-Maritime department in the region of Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France. It has 78 communes. Its population is 189,875 (2016), and its area is 1,534.6 km2 (592.5 sq mi).

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Arrondissement of La Rochelle</span> Arrondissement in Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France

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Aigrefeuille-d'Aunis is a commune in the Charente-Maritime department in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region of south-western France.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Anais, Charente-Maritime</span> Commune in Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Andilly, Charente-Maritime</span> Commune in Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Angoulins</span> Commune in Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Aulnay, Charente-Maritime</span> Commune in Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Châtelaillon-Plage</span> Commune in Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Étaules, Charente-Maritime</span> Commune in Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Surgères</span> Commune in Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Angliers, Charente-Maritime</span> Commune in Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Rochefort-Martrou Transporter Bridge</span> Bridge in Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France

Rochefort-Martrou Transporter Bridge is a transporter bridge built between 1898 and 1900. It is located in Rochefort, Charente-Maritime, Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France and connects the towns of Rochefort and Échillais without hindering the navigation of shipping serving the ports of Rochefort and Tonnay-Charente. It is the last transporter bridge in operation in France. Crossing the river Charente, it has a maximum height of 66.5 metres (218 ft) and a total length of 175.5 metres (576 ft). It is a technical invention accomplished by the French engineer Ferdinand Arnodin. It was abandoned in 1967 in favour of a vertical lift bridge, which was in turn demolished in 1991 a few months after the opening of a new dual-carriageway road bridge, the Martrou viaduct. However, the transporter bridge was refurbished by 1994 and is now a historical monument (1976). Crossing on foot or by bicycle or moped is still possible today from April to the end of October. Crossings last 75 seconds, excluding boarding and disembarking time.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Rochefort station</span>

Gare de Rochefort is a railway station serving the town Rochefort, Charente-Maritime department, southwestern France.

The Communauté d'agglomération de La Rochelle is the communauté d'agglomération, an intercommunal structure, centred on the city of La Rochelle. It is located in the Charente-Maritime department, in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region, South West France. Its area is 327.0 km2. Its population was 171,811 in 2018, of which 76,114 in La Rochelle proper.


  1. "Répertoire national des élus: les maires"., Plateforme ouverte des données publiques françaises (in French). 2 December 2020.
  2. "Populations légales 2020". The National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies. 29 December 2022.
  3. Des villages de Cassini aux communes d'aujourd'hui: Commune data sheet Rochefort, EHESS (in French).
  4. Population en historique depuis 1968, INSEE
  5. Gosse, Edmund William (1911). "Loti, Pierre"  . Encyclopædia Britannica . Vol. 17 (11th ed.). pp. 19–20.
  6. "Comité de Jumelage de Rochefort". (in French). Comité de Jumelage de Rochefort. Retrieved 20 November 2019.

Movies: "Les Demoiselles De Rochefort" 1967 - Jacques Demy