What to see and do in La Rochelle? Our 8 must-see visits!

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Aina Prat


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Facing the ocean, the city is full of tourist attractions such as a remarkable historical heritage, the opportunity to sail at sea, arcades offering the pleasure of shopping ... allied to that of culture or the awakening of the taste buds around the Old Port. Discover 8 unmissable visits to see and do in La Rochelle!

Feasting along the old port

No visit to La Rochelle is done without contemplating the Old Port, the city's nerve center. And what could be better than satisfying both your eyesight and your taste buds? From one end of the Old Port to the other, you will find something to fill you with: a drink on the terrace, seafood to share, a pancake to take away or a sorbet from a well-known glacier that offers more than 40 flavors! Enjoy these simple and unforgettable pleasures, to the sound of seagulls and swaying boats, facing the famous towers.

The old Port

Gain height within 3 laps

If there is one essential visit to do in La Rochelle, it is that of the three towers registered in the network of the Center des Monuments Nationaux! Remains of medieval maritime fortifications, the Lantern tower, the Saint-Nicolas tower and the Chain tower, offer, in addition to knowledge of the history of the city, unique points of view. The tower Saint Nicolas, the highest, offers an exceptional 360 ° panorama on the city and its opening on the Pertuis d'Antioche. A must to do in La Rochelle!

The towers of La Rochelle

Shopping under the arcades

Combining shopping and culture is possible in La Rochelle! From the Grosse-Horloge to the Place de Verdun, the arcades promise to make great shopping at the same time as learning a little more about the history of the city. These stone arches date from the Middle Ages and were used to protect traders' stalls from bad weather. Today, they house shops ranging from large ready-to-wear brands to food shops, including bookstores, souvenir shops and cafes. A passage not to be missed!


Stroll in Charruyer Park

The Charruyer Park, a few steps from the historic city center of La Rochelle is a beautiful place of interest to recharge your batteries! A veritable haven of greenery, it is crossed by a canal that you can cross via a romantic bridge at will.. The park dates from the nineteenth century and offers a walk of about two kilometers through which a playground and an animal park delight families. To discover absolutely, on foot or by bike!

Charruyer Park

Let yourself be guided "hand in the bag" with Aux'tours box

Young Rochelais have been offering an innovative tour of their city since 2019. Aux'tours box is a bag with a map, maps discovered on places of interest, gifts to share and the favorites of the creators. This unusual concept offers visit La Rochelle differently, alone or with others, to discover the essentials and little secrets. Autonomously, without a guide and without a pre-constituted group, the formula has the advantage of inviting people to take their time. A top to add to your to-do-list!

AuxToursBox of La Rochelle

Set sail aboard a catamaran

It's hard to resist the urge to take to the open sea in a city where the sea air intoxicates you in each of its alleys. River companies take boating enthusiasts to discover the Antioch sluice. Departing from the Old Port, on the media library side, you can embark at your choice, at the time of brunch, aperitif or sunset, for a sea excursion of a few hours. A must to do in La Rochelle to relax, have fun and admire the islands of Ré, Aix and Oléron as well as Fort Boyard.

Fort Boyard

Learn in museums

At the Aquarium, the city's flagship attraction, young and old alike are invited to explore the sea and its mysteries. The dive into the marine world continues on the opposite quay at the Maritime Museum. It is even possible to board several ships afloat. The fine arts (currently under construction and closed for an indefinite period) and natural history museums present ethnographic, naturalist and European paintings collections. Finally, the Dames Blanches cloister, the Amelot square and the Intermondes center are temporarily open for exhibitions of contemporary works of art.

The Maritime museum

Admire the amazing historical monuments

As you visit the city of La Rochelle, you will not fail to be in awe of its architecture. No less than 263 monuments are listed as historical monuments! Here is a list of some of the most beautiful places to see:

  • The Café de la Paix and its incredible decor from the 20s;
  • The lighthouses of Quai Valin and Gabut;
  • The houses in rue Dupaty (and in particular the trompe l'oeil of n ° 31);
  • The station and its monumental 45-meter-high bell tower;
  • The gates of the old fortifications (Grosse Horloge, Maubec, Dauphine and Royale);
  • The XNUMXth century covered market;
  • Without forgetting an essential visit to the town hall, the oldest of French town halls still in operation since it dates from 1298!
The Big Clock

Useful information

Here is some practical information that will be useful to you during your stay in La Rochelle:

  • La Rochelle is served by its superb TGV station, an airport and highways.
  • The least rainy months are June and September! Consult our climate forecasts for the year to find out when is the best time to go to La Rochelle.
  • Did you know that the first self-service bicycle system was born in La Rochelle? Renting bicycles is an ecological and pleasant way to explore the city. Yélo is the public transport service network through which you have to pass. It also includes the use of buses, carsharing or even a crossing with the ferry boat.
  • The Tourist Office, ideally located in the magnificent Gabut district, offers a City-Pass (sale suspended in 2020 given the events) which allows you to discover the city's must-see sites. It also gives access to public transport and offers discounts at certain partners.

The essentials of La Rochelle… and after?

La Rochelle offers three beaches: la Concurrence, a 5-minute walk from the city center; Chef-de-Baie and its large lawn area; and Minimes beach lined with restaurants and shops. Corn the department of Charente-Maritime has a multitude of other gems in store for you, don't stop there! The most beautiful beaches can be found outside the cities, we strongly recommend that you take a look at our top beaches in the department.

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