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Port de Commerce (Commercial Port), 6th biggest Sea Port in France

Camion renversant la marchandise au Port de Commerce
Fred Le Lan

Discover an industrial heritage

Maison du Port, a window to the port

It’s in the La Pallice district in the west of La Rochelle that you can find La Rochelle’s Port de Commerce, the 6th biggest sea port in all of France. Its social headquarters, christened the Maison du Port, opened in March 2015 and it is here that you can watch everything that is going on in the port thanks to its 130m² panoramic terrace.

Best of all? The foyer has a scale model of the port! This big scale model shows every inch and every detail of the port’s infrastructure. Both kids and adults will be amazed by this model and will want to discover this unique and special world.

As the only port in deep waters on all of the Atlantic coast, La Rochelle’s Port de Commerce has very diverse activities: it exports grain and bulk goods and imports forest products (pulp and wood) and oil. It also has its own Naval Reparation and Construction Centre. 
Its exceptional nautical capacities mean it welcomes the biggest cruise ships every year (more than 300 metres long). Every season around 20 cruise ships go through the port and around 28,000 cruise passengers. 

A day at the Port de Commerce

Closed to the public since 2010 for safety reasons, the Port de Commerce still and always will peak everyone’s curiosity. Aiming to build a stong bond between the port and the district, La Rochelle’s commercial port came up with the “Journée Port Ouvert” (Doors open day at the port). Therefore, every year in June, the port offers curious locals and tourists the chance to meet professionals to learn about their jobs and what they do.

On this day you will be able to visit the Port de Commerce by sea (by boat) or on land (by bus), as well as most service vessels. Delve into the heart of the world of ports and make memories for life on this incredible day.

Grue du Port de commerce avec des illuminations de nuit
Thierry Rambaud / PALR

An original cliché!


Advice for photographers (and for others too)! Come back to the La Pallice district in the evening when it has gone dark because at the end of of the Boulevard Delmas, which runs the length of the Port de Commerce, you will find the now out of service Caillard N7 crane, illuminated in a stunning display of lights. Every evening a display of colours dance across this huge, impressive crane, which you have just got to see! 

Movie star

Port de Commerce as a film set

Several films and series have chosen to use the underwater base as their set. In 1980, Spielberg secretly filmed the first film in the Indiana Jones saga “Raiders of the Lost Ark” in La Rochelle. A year later, it was the 6 time Oscar nominated “Das Boot” that chose La Pallice’s underwater base as their backdrop. In 2017 the film crew of the series inspired by the film “Das Boot” set up camp at La Rochelle’s Port Atlantique. It is expected to be released in 2018.

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