Rochefort (rôshfôrˈ) [key] or Rochefort-sur-Mer –sür-mĕr, city (1990 pop. 26,949), Charente-Maritime dept., W France, on the Charente River near the Bay of Biscay. It is a fishing port with shipyards and aircraft and machine industries. It has become a popular health spa since the early 1960s. An important naval base in the days of sailing ships, it was built (1666) by Colbert and fortified by Vauban. In 1815, Napoleon surrendered himself to a British warship off Rochefort. The port's importance declined after the advent of steamships. Today an air force technician school is there.