Local delights

Local delights

Rochefort, well known for its Festival du rire, the beer and the cheese, has so much more to offer in both the economical as in the cultural field: industry, 300 commerical enterprises, a tradition of a social kind-hearted and positive atmosphere, a pleasant environment in a community of limited size, a cultural centre and many touristic attrations:

Caves: an old diesel tram (early 20th Century) will take you about a mile away in the woods to the cave entrance. The exploration of the caves began in 1771 but is still far from complete. Only a small proportion of the caves are open to the public. A cave tour lasts about 45 minutes. Impressive sights include the Dome, rising to 120 metres. There is a sound and light show at the end of the visit followed by a short boat ride on the River Lesse to the exit. A large screen in the “Spéléothème” (a short walk from the cave's exit) brings the caves to life once more through film. The Museum of the Underground World takes about an hour to visit. It displays the archaeological vestiges discovered in the cave's underwater chasms.

Animal Park: a safari train takes visitors around the park for about 45 minutes. All the animals that once lived in the region can be seen here. Bears, lynx and wolves are among the attractions. There are also tarpans (wild horses) alongside a host of other animals who still live wild in the surrounding countryside.

Lorette Caves: in the reception pavilion you can see a film about tectonic phenomena. The lighting of the cave has been completely renovated. The highlight of the visit is the light and sound show in the 80m high Sabbat Hall.

The Chapel of Lorette: built in 1620 by the Countess of Rochefort it is an exact copy of the Loreto sanctuary in Italy.

Castle Ruins: built in limestone during the 12th century on a promontory dominating the town, it was occupied until the 19th century. The castle was then sold and dismantled.

Abbey of Saint-Remy: only 2 miles from Rochefort on the road to Ciney, the abbey is hidden at the end of a small side road leading into the woods. Founded in 1230 it was abandoned in 1794 and reopened in 1887. It is here that the Rochefort Trappist beer is still brewed by the monks. Only men are allowed to visit on special request.

The quarries of Saint-Remy are those from which the red marble was extracted and exported throughout Europe to decorate the most prestigious buildings. Saint-Peter in Rome and the Palace of Versailles are amongst the lucky recipients.

Archeopark Rochefort is dedicated to the excavated remains that were consolidated, restored and partly renewed, of one of the biggest Romanian farms in the north of Gaul; it is now an open-air living museum, an multi- facetted interpretation centre of the Gallo-Roman era, a farm and a learning place.