Castle in the Port of La Rochelle
France, Charente-Maritime (17), La Rochelle, bassin à flot du Vieux Port
Pleasure boats at La Rochelle, France
La Rochelle vue d'en haut, France
Old Town of La Rochelle
Scouring its old port and new neighbourhoods
A flagship sailing town, La Rochelle has retained its strong nautical identity, as demonstrated by its old port. First and foremost, your itinerary leads to a discovery of its exceptional historical heritage, from the Gabut quarter and old town, through to the prestigious museums. But La Rochelle has also been able to modernise and develop over time, as you will see by walking through its regenerated neighbourhoods and parks. For lovers of marine life, the Aquarium is one of the most prestigious in France.
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La RochelleLa Rochelle
Explore the Gabut quarter and its brightly coloured facades. Reach the old port, once devoted to fishing and now to pleasure boats. Admire the Saint Nicholas and Chaîne towers, both built in the 14th century. After a visit to the aquarium, head to the old town: its arcaded streets with engraved stone plates and secret passages will plunge you into the atmosphere of the 18th century. Don’t miss the Town Hall and the old timber-framed houses around Rue Mercier and Rue du Palais.
Get ready for a more studious day: head to the Museum of Natural History, the town’s oldest museum that boasts meticulous staging. Follow this with the Museum of Fine Arts, created in 1844 in an old episcopal palace built under Louis XVI. The painting of Cardinal de Richelieu at the siege of La Rochelle is a key piece. After lunch, take a stroll to Bunker La Rochelle, a small museum focused to the town during the Second World War. Spend the evening in the old town.
Head to the southern port area for your last day. Stroll through the Bassin des Grands Yachts (referred to as “trawlers” by many locals) to admire prestigious ships and replicas of old models. Head for a walk in the extremely pleasant port de plaisance des minimes neighborhood, where Europe’s leading nautical fair takes place each September. Finally, spend the afternoon on the side of La Ville-en-Bois: be sure not to miss the extraordinary Museum of Automata and Miniature Models!
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