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Talk of the town - La Rochefoucauld

Talk of the town - La Rochefoucauld

Thinking of moving?  Here we visit La Rochefoucauld in Charente (16)... 

la-rochefoucauld-property-buyAsk anyone about La Rochefoucauld and it is likely that their first response will be about the château which sits imperiously overlooking this pretty market town in Charente. The history of the chateau is intertwined with the history of the La Rochefoucauld family, one of the five oldest noble families of France, who still own, and inhabit, the castle today.

The story goes back over 1000 years to 980, when Foucauld, the younger brother of the viscount of Limoges, built the camp above the River Tardoire and named it Foucauld’s Rock. The castle grew with each century, starting with Foucauld’s son, who built the square keep in the courtyard, which was surrounded by a wall. The two entrance towers were built in the mid-14th century. And in 1453, Jean de La Rochefoucauld celebrated the end of the Hundred Years war by building three towers. Later, in 1520, Anne de la Rochefoucauld built the galleries and staircase in a renaissance style inspired by the Leonardo Da Vinci drawings given to her by the king of France. A fire in the 18th century meant that in 1760 the 12th-century wing was replaced.

The pretty market town of La Rochefoucauld has grown up around the base of the chateau, its stone bridge straddling the River Tardoire, and is a gem in its own right. The high street has a good range of shops with pavement cafés and restaurants both here and in the market square. Local attractions include a small cinema and a hospital museum, and the city of Angoulême with its TGV station is easily reached via the newly completed N141. Limoges is just over an hour in the opposite direction, ideal for international visitors.

The population has remained relatively static over recent years, around 3,000 and the town has both ecoles primaires and colleges (private and state). A market is held every Saturday morning in the covered halles with a more general fair on the 10th of each month.