We headed up the Charentes estuary to the charming port town of Rochefort. Peter knows a guy who keeps his boat here, and he was hoping we’d get to see him. We didn’t, but we did discover that we really like this town. The port and marina are a bit… funky and low-key, not unlike Folleux. This marks big points in our book. That said, the marina has two sides, and we are in the old port, down by the Corderie Royale. The newer part of the port does not look nearly as warm and cozy. Our pontoon is just below Oliver’s Cooks, a charming mussels and fries joint with a nice terrace that does a brisk business. We’re only about 300 meters from the lock that seals the port from the Charentes river.Walking over the lock takes you either along a beautiful hike and bike trail leading by the vast museum of the Corderie Royale, well worth the visit, then up to the town’s impressive dry locks and to the lock holding Hermione, a replica of a 19th century masterpiece of a sailing vessel that was built here.
This is also known as the Arsenal, an ancient French naval works area that is now transformed into a really lively family spot. Theres the Accro’Mat, a climbing adventure game on a huge sailboat replica, where families can climb and play. There’s a great little bar and cantina, with icy cold local beer, salads and so on. And we just happened to be there for Les lundi de l’Arsenal! Every Monday in summer, comedians, poets, live music, food trucks and such occupy several spots in the park and people can picnic, play, dance… this was a lot of fun, and only a 5 minute walk from the port. Not to mention the terrific fireworks display for which we had front row seats on Opsi! It’s a very Austin-ish ambiance and I love it!
Pass the Arsenal and you get yo the Porte de Soleìl, which looks like a mini Arc de Triomphe. That’s at the head of the busy market street, with both a permanent covered market and numerous commerces. Among those I really enjoyed is caviste (wine shop) that sells local wines. We are now well=stocked, with rosé, claret, white and red from the region. The p6utdoor street market (Saturdays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays) covers about 4 city blocks. There’s a great coffee truck where you can get hot and cold coffees and teas, as well as fresh beans, roasted and ground on site.
Back on board, Peter has been struggling with our Yamaha outboard, and he finally git it fixed. Now were replacing our 27 meter chain with 40 meters, and our 16k anchor with a 24k behemoth, after a few sleeves nights due to chain slippage.
More to come on this subject, I’ve got to get more serious about writing and finishing these blog posts_