Rochefort Tourist Attractions
The pretty little town of Rochefort, about 30km/19miles southeast of Dinant near the Lesse and Lomme National Park, was once the capital of a county the only witness to which are the ruins of a 12th C. castle; now it is a summer resort visited especially by walkers and anglers.Near the Abbey of Saint-Rémy, a marble quarry once provided marble for St Peter's in Rome.History touched Rochefort in 1792 when in Rue Jacquet No.8 the Marquis de La Fayette and Châteaubriand, both fleeing from Jacobin terror, were arrested by Austrian troops.
Apart from its charming scenery Rochefort only has two small museums to attract tourists: in one tower of the castle ruins can be found an historical exhibition, and the Musée du Pays de Rochefort et de la Famenne in the Avenue d'Alost has exhibits about the scenery of Famenne.
Grottes de Rochefort
Rochefort is the base for visiting the grottos which were carved out by the waters of the Lomme thousands of years ago; they were discovered in 1865 and investigated throughout 1870. They rank almost equal to the grottoes of Han-sur-Lesse as far as their beauty and the number of visitors is concerned. Their stalactite formations are bizarre, the temperature of 8°C/46°F is less than that in Han so that warm clothing is necessary for the visit which takes about an hour.The most impressive caverns and formations are those of the Val d'Enfer (valley of hell), the almost 90m/295ft high Salle du Sabbat - in which there is an impressive son et lumière show - the Salle aux Merveilles and the Les Arcades galleries which are located directly below the castle of Beauregard. Above the grottos stands the Loreto Chapel built in 1620, a copy of the chapel of the same name near Ancona.
Domaine Provincial Valéry Cousin
The Valéry Cousin provincial estate, a large area of 500ha/1,235 acres with forests and lakes situated around a 19th C. castle, offers numerous leisure activities such as an open-air swimming pool, water slides and mini-golf.
Chevetonge, 15km/9.5mi northwest of Rochefort, lies on the border between the regions of Condroz and Famenne. This village is the headquarters of the Benedictine monastic brotherhood "Exaltation de la Sainte-Croix" (raising of the cross), founded in 1926 by Lambert Baudouin in Amay, the main principles of which are the rapprochement between the Catholic and the Russian orthodox churches. In 1939 the monks moved to Chevetonge where they occupied the buildings of a monastery which had been abandoned in 1902. Here in 1957 they built the oriental church after the pattern of the 11th C. Russian-Byzantine church in Novgorod which is a rectangular brick building with a large narthex, a central dome and a crypt. All the walls of the interior are decorated with frescoes by Greek artists, the religious representation of which corresponds to orthodox beliefs.
Château de Jannée
About 18km/11mi north of Rochefort near the N4 stands the Château de Jannée surrounded by a fine game park. It can be traced back to a 12th C. defense building which about 1600 was enlarged, and extended in 1850 to its present size. Grouped around a large courtyard bordered by towers are new buildings and the farm buildings which are of older date. Visitors are conducted through the kitchen with its old utensils, the bedrooms and bathroom as well as several reception rooms on the ground floor, all tastefully furnished and containing fine Louis XV furniture and porcelain.
Marche-en-Famenne, 13km/8miles to the northeast of Rochefort, is the chief place in Famenne and a center of Wallonian pillow lace, the production of which is carried on in the village. It was here in 1577 that Don Juan of Austria signed the edict confirming the Peace of Ghent, which had been concluded a year before, and by which the Spanish left the provinces of the Netherlands.Features worth seeing in the village are the Musée de la Tourelle with a collection of lace work, the Musée de la Famenne, as well as the 14th Church of Saint-Remacle with its very fine font of the same date.
Musée de la Tourelle
Discover the history of lace and costumes through a tour of an old Walloon lace center. Featured are specimens of lace and tools used by lacemakers from Belgium, France, Russia and many other nations.
The Church of Saint-Etienne in the suburb of Waha possesses the oldest dedication stone of all Belgian churches. It can be seen on a pillar at the entrance to the choir, and states that on June 23, 1050 the Bishop of Liège dedicated the church. The present building dates from the 16th C. and only the tower is still Romanesque. On the tower is a royal tablet with the arms of the Spanish king Philip II which is a memorial to the edict of 1577. In the three-aisled interior can be seen fine funerary monuments, a 13th C. reliquary, a 16th C. font, as well as fine statues of St Barbara and St Nicholas.
In the church of Nassogne which is situated on the Wamme, 13km/8miles east of Rochefort, is buried St Monon, a Scottish missionary murdered here in 636. The present-day church, dating from the 18th C., stands on the site of a chapel erected in 661.
Ruined Castle of Comtal
These imposing ruins of what once was the largest castle in Famenne provide excellent views of the surrounding countryside.
See the sights around Rochefort from the comfort of a tourist train.