By Maggie LaCoste
We are only several days into this bike journey, and we have already experienced many new adventures, and made many new friendships. After our unusually frustrating day of cycling, nothing could have prepared me for our experience at the Hotel Roca-Fortis in Rochefort. I was disappointed because the small well-reviewed gite in town had no vacancies, and we would be staying at a small hotel across the street. The moment that we met the owner, Jean-Marc Taillieu, I knew that we were in for a very special experience.
Jean-Marc is one of those larger than life people, with a welcoming and relaxing nature. He quickly took charge of helping us with our bikes and bags, encouraging us to just relax and enjoy our vacation in France. Life is too precious to not do so, according to Jean-Marc. This is something that he understands quite well, as he only recently left the business world where he was on the road almost 300 days a year. He and his wife Fanny left the fast-track world just over a year ago, purchased the Hotel Roca-Fortis, and have proceeded to turn it into one of the most popular places to stay in the region.
The hotel is gorgeous and the warm welcome and kindness from Jean-Marc is something I will always remember. From dinner reservations, to help with upcoming hotel reservations, to advice on the forecasted storms, nothing was too much trouble for Jean-Marc to help with. Hotel Roca-Fortis is a two star hotel, but you will not find better service in a 5 star hotel! Jean-Marc enriched our lives with his stories and we hope that somehow we left a positive feeling about Americans with him. Certainly the sharing of cultures was a very special experience.
Rochefort is a treasure of French history, I wish that we had been able to stay several more days. There are bike paths throughout the area where you can explore the military history of the area. If you have kids, this is definitely an area worth exploring. They will learn more about French history in a weekend than they would in a year in school!
I can’t wait to go back. In the meantime, I will treasure the photos of our time in Rochefort.