September 29, 2018 Rochefort FR

Today we reluctantly left Brittany and decided to take a big bite out of our trip to Spain. We covered over 350km today to the city of Rochefort.  The roads were generally good and for almost half of the way were limited access free ways with no tolls.

Rochefort is an interesting town.  It was founded in 1666 to support a naval yard that was placed here by one of the kings.  Unlike any French city we have ever visited it is actually laid out in a grid.  The town itself had a kind of Mediterranean/California vibe.  Ton thought it was kind of boring, but Ron was comfortable in a town he could navigate in without getting lost!

Even thought the roads were straight there was still a nice old gate in Rochefort.

We made another attempt at getting a French phone.  The guy at the Orange store (the biggest French mobile phone company), was really nice, but basically told us that there were no good solutions to our problem.  We could either get a standard French mobile plan and pay the monthly cost, or get a sim card that only works in France and nowhere else in Europe.  We are going to keep trying, there must be a way to make this work.

We went down to the old naval yard.  It was a major producer of vessels for the French Navy from 1660 to the 1920’s.  In addition to building French Ships of the Line (really big sailing battle ships) and Frigates like the USS Constitution, it also built France’s first submarine (named the Plunger).  Unfortunately the location was not good for larger modern ships and it was abandoned.  

The French Frigate Hermione reconstructed.  

Today they have a replica of the French Frigate Hermione.  This ship is famous here for being the ship that took Lafayette to the US during the revolution.  It is really well done.

After that we took a look around the ropery which was a large factory used to make all of the ropes used in the French Navy.  By the end of the walk we headed to an aire for the night and relaxed.

The ropery building at the French Maritime Museum.

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