"Place Colbert, Rochefort" Rochefort Travelogue by frenchderek

Rochefort Travel Guide: 10 reviews and 18 photos

A bit of history

I'm a history-lover: I need to know the why and the how a place came to be. So, Place Colbert, Rochefort.

When the town was planned (as a naval and military base), in 1670, the idea was to have a barracks square, where the troops, etc could be inspected and so on. But, even though such a square was built, it was named after the Capucins church nearby. It wasn't until 1830 that it was renamed "Place d'Armes" (Barracks Square). And it wasn't until long after the Revolution that it was dedicated to Colbert (the founder of the town).

The amazing thing is that, from the earliest days the Square was criss-crossed by diagonal pathways, as it is now. But even the buildings around are still recognisable on a drawing made in the 1690's. The fountain (topped with figures representing the meeting of the river Charente and the sea) was built in the late 18th century: and is still in place, and working.

During the Revolution, the Square was where the guillotine was erected. And, during the Occupation, the Nazi soldiers loved to parade here. At the end of WW2 the collaborators were paraded and humiliated here. And, in 1961, the film "les Demoiselles de Rochefort" was made.

Quite a history.

  • Page Updated May 9, 2016
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