Are you looking for somewhere tranquil and accessible to walk that goes through parks and by the sea? We recommend that you give the Mail paths a go which conveniently lead on to a little walking trail.
Leave the car near Parc Franck Delmas and go through the holm oak woods (green oaks) in Parc d’Orbigny and you will come out at the sea with a stunning view over the Pointe des Minimes and the Phare du Bout du Monde (lighthouse).
Then head along the coastline (to your right) to Parc du Casino. With a paved path, shaded grassy areas, and benches to stop for a rest, it is a little bit of heaven for all walkers and people who are having a lazy weekend in the park. There is something for everyone: young people (who can go on their bikes, skateboards or scooters), parents with their prams or buggies, families, friends, grannies and grandpas.
Heritage in the open air
As you are on this lovely walk, you come across a really pretty view: under the pine trees, you can make out the Plage de La Concurrence and in the distance the Tour de la Lanterne which you can instantly recognise with its gothic spire. Here, you will walk in the footsteps of bourgeois families from La Rochelle and the region who gave in to the “Bains de Mer” (Sea Baths) craze in the 19th century, installing the bathhouses on this part of the coastline with changing rooms (obviously with different rooms for men and women), chill out areas and an access ramp to get round the tides!! All of this was organised around the casino, the perfect place to relax and gamble at a must-see seaside resort that lives up to its name.
As you go on, the path twists and turns around a cute little stone gazebo, the “Pavillon Fleuriau”, an extravagance of the 19th century overlooking the sea. The walk continues along the Promenade de la Concurrence that leads up to the beach with the same name. From there, you have two options: head towards the Vieux Port (old port) or stop off at a terrace by the beach.
On the way back you can turn off before the casino to get back to the shaded Mail paths and head back up towards the big commemorative monument, which marks the end of these lovely streets. Make sure you stop and admire the villas and houses dating back to the start of the last century which are proof that La Rochelle has been a huge attraction to families for generations in their search for that salty sea air.
A refreshing walk, suitable for all ages and not to be consumed in moderation!