Though it was never on my bucket list, people kept telling me how beautiful La Rochelle is. So while we were on our way to Ile-de-Re I made sure to factor in some time to visit La Rochelle. La Rochelle is famous for its old harbor and the narrow alleyways with half-timbered houses. La Rochelle is one of the most put-together cities I have ever seen, as all the houses are built in a similar style and consists of only a few shades of beige. You know I am usually about colorful places, but I must admit I found La Rochelle very impressive because of its clean look.

Practical information

La Rochelle was founded in the 10th Century and quickly became a very important harbor town because of its strategic location at the Atlantic Coast. Right now the city is a very popular tourist destination, because of its beautiful preserved old town and harbor. However, its history is less pretty. La Rochelle was captured by France after the 100 Years’ war in 1453. In the 17th Century La Rochelle got into a war again, trying to join the English who had invaded Ile-de-Re. This led to a 15 month siege by the French and three-quarters of the population of La Rochelle starved to death. Later on the harbor of La Rochelle played an important role in the trading of slaves, making it a rich city of which we can still see the remains today.

If you want to visit La Rochelle you need to do a little bit of planning for parking. In the case you are visiting with a car I would advise to park at P+R Jean Moulin and take the shuttle bus into the city. In summertime you will not find many available parking spots near the old city center and parking at a P+R saves you a lot of hassles. Unfortunately you cannot park at the P+R if you are arriving with a van or camper. We ended up finding a spot at the parking near the city’s hospital and walked into town in 10 minutes.

Pictures of La Rochelle

I think my pictures speak from themselves, La Rochelle is just incredibly pretty. Everybody in France already knew that, making La Rochelle very touristy. If you cannot handle crowds, I would recommend to visit in the off-season.

In my last pictures you can see that La Rochelle is also developing a more modern side, you will find this at the westside of the Vieux Port. I personally found it very funny that old men were playing jeux-de-boules with a graffiti background, very old meets new!

Things to do in and near La Rochelle

Besides coming for a photo app, there are many things to do in La Rochelle:

Take a boat to the islands: You can take a boat to one of islands on the Atlantic Coast such as Ile-de-Re, Ile-de-Aix or Ile d’Oleron.

Visit the towers: Make a visit to the towers that comprise the medieval entry gate to La Rochelle: The Saint Nicholas Tower and the Chain Tower. It takes about 30 min-1 hour per tower to visit.

Aquarium La Rochelle: We ran out of time, but otherwise I would have for sure visited the Aquarium. The Aquarium is one of the biggest in Europe and you can see many sorts of fish, as well as turtles and sharks.

Musee Maritime: The maritime museum is mainly located on grand ships, so you can really immerse yourself in the experience.

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