Nestled in a gap along the shoreline, just a few kilometres from the Old Port of La Rochelle and Port des Minimes, three small peaceful ports lead walkers between history and tradition. Accessible by road or via the coastal path, these ports all make delightful stops to take a break and recharge your batteries during a walk or bike ride.
At Port du Loiron in Angoulins: the charm of the huts
Emerging from its small sheltered cove, Port du Loiron exudes a picturesque atmosphere – heightened by the huts which surround it and bear witness to the area’s former oyster-farming activity. Within these shelters, built from odds and ends, the women of old would separate and sort the oysters. Since then, they have been maintained by lovers of the site. They store their fishing gear there, along with folding chairs and tables, ready to welcome neighbours and friends on sunny days for a picnic or a traditional mussels éclade. These activities offer the place a friendly atmosphere: a real art of living that can be felt by visiting walkers.
Port du Plomb, between l'Houmeau and Nieul-sur-Mer: a world full of history.
This is said to be the oldest port in Aunis. It is here that the Go, a tiny coastal river on the Atlantic coast, joins the ocean. The Go crosses the commune of Nieul-sur-Mer – with its little village of Lauzières filled with white facades, hollyhocks and small alleys – to reach the sea, at the end of a channel which forms the borders of Nieul-sur-Mer and L'Houmeau.
Long before La Rochelle erected its famous towers, Port du Plomb was home to ships carrying wheat and wine from its hinterlands from as early as the 10th century. It was then a fishing port, before becoming an oyster-farming port, and today serves mainly as a harbour for the pleasure boats which cast their coloured reflections on the waters of the channel.
With the wooden footbridge spanning the length of the port, the huts and oyster beds to either side and the red and white turret at the end of its pier, Port du Plomb makes for an attractive landscape. It is an exceptional location for family walks, from which you can continue on via the coastal paths. There are also several bars and restaurants offering a range of food and drink.
The Port of La Pelle in Marsilly: a port like no other
For walkers in search of authenticity, this is a little up-and-coming spot – a countryside port, and a perfectly natural location with no constructions other than the few establishments where you can buy mussels and oysters directly from the producer and, if you like, sit down to taste them on site. Back towards the land, fields of grain stretch out are far as the eye can see. Opposite, the sea offers up all its variety of colours and, at nightfall, its unforgettable sunsets.
La Pelle, however, is not a real port. There are no boats moored here, other than a few oyster-farming barges. All around the Port de la Pelle, carrelets jut out on the water – pontoons which serve as fishing gear themselves, recognised as beautiful emblems of the Charente coast.
Find La Rochelle’s little ports on the map
Try the shellfish
Fresh and salty sea flavour
The little ports tucked away on the limestone coast represent the history of coastal life dedicated to oyster and mussel production. Try them on your walk while you’re sat comfortably looking out over the sea and instantly lose track of time. Treat yourself!