So that you don't miss a thing during your stay, check out our selection of essentials in La Rochelle. For a day or a weekend, don't miss out on the must-see sights, activities and places to visit.
La Rochelle in 1 day
For your day in La Rochelle, there’s nothing quite like a walk from the quays of the Old Port to the streets of the old town. From monuments steeped in history to little cobbled streets and lively squares, immerse yourself in the heart of this maritime city. Take a walk through the 19th-century covered Central Market. On Wednesdays and Saturdays, major market days, the stalls extend out into the neighbouring streets. An aperitif break* on the terraces of the surrounding cafes is a must to share the friendly atmosphere of the market.
* drink in moderation - alcohol abuse is dangerous for your health.
After lunch at a restaurant in the former fishermen's district, Rue St-Nicolas, or on a terrace of the intimate Place de la Fourche, head for La Rochelle Aquarium by electro-solar ferry. Recognised as one of the largest private aquariums in Europe, this space dedicated to marine creatures attracts anyone who’s curious or passionate about marine life. Allow a good 2 hours to visit La Rochelle Aquarium. To end your day and bring back a bit of La Rochelle in your suitcase, head for Quai des Artisans. Farol cutlery and Matlama bags and accessories are based there and open the doors of their workshop/boutique to you.
- Stroll through the arcades of the old town and visit Rue de l'Escale
- Visit the market and have a drink around the 19th-century covered market
- Lunch in the St-Nicolas district on the intimate Place de La Solette
- Take the ferry across the Old Port
- Visit La Rochelle Aquarium
- Do some Made in La Rochelle shopping at Quai des Artisans
La Rochelle in 2 days
At sunrise, head for the terraces of the Old Port to enjoy your unmissable coffee/croissant breakfast facing the towers. In the early morning, the city wakes up slowly: the movement of the boats, the bustle of the bars as they open, the bicycles passing by, the pedestrians who daydream ... here, people take time to wake up. Then we’re off to the towers of La Rochelle. Beautiful and majestic, the towers are also worth discovering from the inside: stone stairs, floors, graffiti ... up to the rampart walkways which offer exceptional 360-degree views of the city.
It’s just a few steps from the graffiti left by prisoners in the Lantern Tower to the modern graffiti of Gabut. Stroll through the surprising Gabut district with its colourful wooden houses with their Scandinavian inspiration, home of street art in La Rochelle. Along the Bassin des Chalutiers or the Bassin à Flot, lots of restaurant terraces invite you in to relax.
Climb aboard France 1, the unusual Maritime Museum afloat in Bassin des Chalutiers. Here, you can discover life aboard this meteorological frigate and the history of La Rochelle through its ports in spaces on land. To end the day, take your picnic basket for a quick dinner until sunset, in one of La Rochelle’s seaside parks.
La Rochelle in 3 days
Start your day with a focus on cycling. The coastal path invites you on a wonderful long bike ride from beach to beach and port to port. You can discover the splendid landscapes along the coast: the limestone cliffs, the fishing huts known as “carrelets”, the panorama of the islands, lighthouses and forts...
Profitez de votre escapade à vélo pour vous arrêter déguster huîtres et fruits de mer dans les exploitations ostréicoles ou les restaurants qui bordent la côte. Le long des plages à l’Houmeau, La Rochelle, Angoulins et Châtelaillon-Plage, faîtes quelques pauses rafraîchissantes ou vivifiantes selon la température de l’eau !
In the evening, be sure to take a stroll or reserve your table in the unmissable "restaurant street": Rue St-Jean-du-Pérot. Here, restaurants of all types rub shoulders with wine bars, rum and beer bars in a wonderful festive atmosphere.
Go further afield...
At the north of La Rochelle, in the commune of Esnandes, nestled between the Marais Poitevin and the Bay of Aiguillon, discover the fortified church of Esnandes with its ramparts, classified as a historical monument, as well as the Mussel Museum which retraces the history of mussel cultivation from yesterday to today.
The Château de Buzay is also located in La Jarne, south of La Rochelle, and can be reached by Yélo bus. This beautiful castle and its gardens bear witness to the city's art of living at a time when trade between La Rochelle and the New World colonies was flourishing.