Sunday, 28 August 2016

Rocroi or Rocroy – which is correct?

Well I don't know and reading the various accounts by diverse official bodies it seems that they do not know either. Having just spent an enjoyable two days there I can tell you that the only way to get the full view of the remarkable fortifications which have decided the shape of this town is to be a bird. 
Rocroi, fortified village in northern France.
I could find no viewpoint to give justice to the design of the town so I reproduce above a published aerial view. 

Military historians know Rocroy (or Rocroi) for the battle which took place there in 1643 between the army of the newly crowned King Louis XIV of France and the combined forces of the Spanish Netherlands who had stood undefeated in battle for a claimed 100 years. The French army was victorious and the course of history changed as Louis XIV went on to redefine the borders of France. 

Rocroi, being a frontier town, had been fortified in various stages by different occupants over the centuries, each adding a layer. Eventually, of course, the fortifications themselves were rendered redundant by the developments in artillery and the town's military status was rescinded in 1886.
Church of St Nicolas, Rocroi.

Left is the church of St Nicolas which was sited across the square opposite our hotel.

Visit Rocroi, take a stroll for 4km around the top of the fortifications and then sit at a cafe terrace in the Place d'Armes and absorb the peace and tranquility of the town centre.

If you stay longer I can recommend the Hotel Au Sabots d'Hélène. Parking is free in the square and, surprisingly, there always seems to be empty places.

But you really need to be a bird to fully appreciate the town's character.

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