A visit to the Aquarium is an enchanting way to discover the oceans 365 days a year. In the heart of the city, 82 pools fed by three million litres of seawater are home to 600 species and 12,000 marine animals.
A journey to the heart of the oceans
After travelling up an elevator worthy of a Jules Verne novel, you enter the enchanting world of the oceans by following the jellyfish tunnel. Immerse yourself in a fascinating two-hour journey in one of Europe's largest aquariums.
From the Atlantic to the Mediterranean
The first space devoted to the foreshore allows us to observe under a microscope more than a thousand living organisms. We then discover familiar varieties from the temperate waters of the Atlantic: cuttlefish, rays, sole, turbot, starfish, anemones and seahorses.
Then it’s the turn of the Mediterranean, which reveals all the richness of its clear waters: octopus, cardinal fish, boarfish or snipefish. The tour continues towards the oceanic pools with open water species such as barracuda and guitarfish. Here, you can marvel at the ballet of phosphorescent jellyfish from the abyssal depths of the marine world.
From the Caribbean to the Indo Pacific
The first stage leads to the balmy tropics with its shimmering coloured fish: angel fish, surgeonfish, butterfly fish and so on, not to mention the green moray! The waters of the Indian Ocean are home to dazzling species amidst corals resplendent with orange, yellow and purple flashes. This is where you can see the famous clownfish that kids delight in calling Nemo!
The shark aquarium
A highlight of the visit, the huge shark aquarium rises to the full height of the building! You can watch the grey reef shark with its massive, powerful silhouette, see the tapered teeth of the bull shark or watch sleepers like the white tip shark and zebra shark. Here, they coexist with groupers and beautiful giant rays.
The ballet of the jellyfish
From the 360° tunnel to the jellyfish room, you’ll be enchanted by the grace and fragility of the jellyfish that have inhabited the oceans for 600 million years. Phosphorescent, white or pink, they move around in fascinating, hypnotising movements. A magnificent spectacle to discover!
The Antioch turtle
This little sea turtle becomes the favoured guide for children from 4 years old, for a unique underwater adventure. This audio-guided trip follows the journey of a young turtle through the seas and oceans of the globe to discover marine ecosystems.
The tropical greenhouse
After passing through the gallery of lights, the visit ends on land in the tropical greenhouse. The landscaped path winds through palm trees, lianas, tree ferns and orchids. Down by their roots, the waters shelter piranhas, while tarpons and strange periophthalmus stir in the brackish water...
The shop Mémoires d’Océan
Consider visiting the Aquarium shop! It offers a fine selection of items for adults and children: books, cuddly toys, educational games, decorative items, jewellery and ready-to-wear. Several collections are produced with associations working for the preservation of the Ocean and its inhabitants.
A family story
Born from a family passion for the marine world, Aquarium La Rochelle is one of the largest private aquariums in Europe. Founded by René Coutant in 1970, his children Roselyne and Pascal developed their father's dream by creating a real institution. Each year, it welcomes more than 800,000 visitors.
Dreaming and understanding the sea has been the Aquarium's promise for over 50 years.
Today, the third generation in the form of Ambre and Mathieu takes up the torch of this unusual company. With their passion and their convictions, they pursue the development of the family business which is both an aquarium open to the public and a special place for scientific research. They are also committed through awareness-raising actions to the preservation of biodiversity.
When to visit Aquarium La Rochelle?
Did you know that Aquarium La Rochelle is the most visited in France? To discover the underwater world under the best conditions: be smart! Take advantage of the best times to explore the Aquarium in peace.
Visit the Aquarium in good weather
Would you like to come to Aquarium La Rochelle in the middle of the day? Choose a sunny day rather than a rainy one! The lunchtime window between 12.30pm and 1.30pm also tends to be less busy.
Coming when it opens at 9.00am is another great alternative. You’ll be the first to marvel at the ballet of jellyfish and seahorses using a time-stamped skip-the-line ticket.
Visiting Aquarium La Rochelle at night
In July and August, the Aquarium opens until 11.00pm. Take the opportunity to travel to the heart of the oceans at nightfall, outside the peak crowds. In the evening, you can stroll in peace among the fish and marine mammals amid a more subdued atmosphere. Remember: the last entry is at 9.30pm!
Finding a restaurant near the Aquarium
Why not take advantage of a night visit to savour an aperitif dinner on the deck of the mythical France 1 or dine at Brasserie Là-Haut, which overlooks the docks and the aquarium’s tropical greenhouse? After your visit, end the evening by strolling around the old port with its majestic illuminated towers.
What does it cost to visit Aquarium La Rochelle?
The price is €17.50 per adult and €12.50 per child (excluding reductions). Purchasing time-stamped tickets online is strongly recommended.
Where to park when visiting the Aquarium?
If you come by car, there are several car parks nearby:
What to do after visiting the Aquarium?
A visit to the Aquarium leads on to other things to do in the immediate vicinity between the Gabut district and Espace Encan. You can stroll along the Quai des Artisans, see the boats in the docks and extend your walk towards the Gabut or Saint-Nicolas district.
Strolling along the Quai des Artisans
As you walk along Espace Encan, you can discover Quai des Artisans. The old tidal market now houses local craft workshops. Of note, there’s a wood-gilding workshop, the Farol cutlery workshop-boutique, as well as Matlama, which manufactures designer bags from surprising materials. Everything for a made in La Rochelle shopping experience!
Explore the trawler basin
Just behind the Aquarium is the elegant trawler basin with its yachts and other large, deep-draft vessels. These include the eight ships from the heritage fleet of the Maritime Museum, which occupy the southern area of the basin. Take the opportunity to visit the old meteorological frigate or simply have a drink on the deck of France 1.
The Yélo bus boats
By taking the wooden footbridge that separates the two basins, you can walk to the ferry or sea bus station. Set off on the electric shuttle for a mini-sea crossing to the foot of the Chain Tower!
The Gabut district
Very close to the Aquarium, the Gabut district, recognisable by its multicoloured houses, forms the link between the historic centre and the Encan. The Scandinavian style of the wooden town reminds us of the long commercial past of La Rochelle with the Hanseatic ports.
The Saint-Nicolas district
A must-see in La Rochelle, the Saint-Nicolas district is known for its flea market, art galleries, trendy boutiques and atmospheric bars. With its long, cobbled pedestrian street and pretty tree-lined square, this unusual, somewhat bohemian district remains a place full of charm and poetry.
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