Guarded by medieval twin towers, the Vieux Port at La Rochelle is one of the most photographed harbours on France’s Atlantic coast, the colourful hub of a town packed with history and heritage, tempting boutiques and cosy restaurants.
Pick up a town guide from the Tourist Office in the colourful Gabut district beside the harbour. Once a collection of old fishermen’s huts, the brightly painted clapboard buildings now house shops and cafes.
Opposite the Tourist Office is La Rochelle Aquarium, home to 12,000 marine animals, whilst the floating Maritime Museum nearby includes a weather ship, trawler and tug boat.
The historic old town features vaulted stone arcades and historic public buildings, as well as imposing private mansions from the 17th and 18th centuries. Visit the newly restored Natural History Museum, the Fine Arts Museum, or one of several themed collections.
Easy to explore on foot, La Rochelle is ideal as a short-break destination or as part of a longer holiday. It also offers 160 km of designated cycle paths, accessible to everyone thanks to the fleet of 350 yellow municipal bikes or ‘Yélos’.
Enjoy one of the many music and film festivals, sports events and concerts, not forgetting Le Grand Pavois, Europe’s biggest floating boat show every September.
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