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In this post I am going to summarize a series of activities with everything I recommend to see and do in the city of La Rochelle and its surroundings (all this based on my recent trip to the region exploring so much).
Walk around the market (Marche du Centre Ville)
It is a market that although not so big, is animated, colorful and to rebozo of products. The La Rochelle market is very easy to find by walking in the area around Puerto Viejo. And of course, it’s the best place to buy oysters, the local star product, as well as orchard products, cheeses, and plenty of seafood flavors.
Eat oysters and typical products.
The gastronomy of La Rochelle and the area requires a list of products to be tasted (and I say write them down so as not to forget anything 🙂 ). Oysters will of course be the star local product (e.g. oysters from the Marennes-Oléron basin may be among the most famous). Nor can you leave the area without trying the Brioche de Vendée, the Charente melon from departments such as Deux-sévres and Vienne, the Ile de Ré potato, the bouchot mussels. Products of the land and delicacies of the sea summarize the menu of many restaurants in the region.
Visit museums and local attractions.
The local history is very well told in a complex of museums scattered over much of the central area of the city. It is the opportunity to understand and learn about the origin of La Rochelle as a fishing village, and its history of centuries always linked to the sea and maritime trade. One of the best spots is at the Maritime Museum of La Rochelle and the Natural History Museum of La Rochelle.
In the photo you can see one of the attractions of the
In the Puerto Viejo area there are points as curious as a World War II Bunker (
Take a catamaran ride or boat excursions.
One of the activities I was able to do in La Rochelle was a catamaran ride of about two hours and at dusk departing from the Old Harbor area. It’s a beautiful experience, especially if you’re playing in a day with as mild a climate as I am. It is possible to hire the excursion or rent a yacht or sailboat to enjoy an experience at sea. You can even sail around the nearby islands (such as Ile de Ré and Aix) or reach the Fort Boyard.
Escape to Ile de Re
This island full of tranquility, small and simple villages with an air of sophistication and good living in every corner, is just 30 minutes from La Rochelle (and connected to a bridge). Ile de Re is a sought-after summer paradise, a flat island among marshes, salt flats and quiet beaches that is usually explored by bicycle. By the way, in summer it is visited by many celebrities from France, and in the middle of the season it is usually the quietest and most peaceful time to enjoy it.
Visit fortifications Fort Vauban (Fouras)
The Charente estuary has always been a coastal area of great power and value in maritime trade. So it was always important to defend the area. Testimony to that need are points like Fort Vauban, a fortress that protected ships at gunpoint. Vauban was responsible for reinforcing this fortification that can be visited, and climb to its tower to enjoy the views of the entire estuary.
Here you can see information to organize your visit to
Knowing the Island of Aix
To get to Ile de Aix you have to take a ferry from Fouras (20 minutes), which especially in summer are very frequent but are available all year round. The association of Iles du Ponent integrates other islands together. It is the place with the soul of tranquility demanded by the inhabitants of the area, and tourists coming from all over France and Europe. An island free of cars, and where the essential transport is the bicycle. It’s the way to go out and explore and reach beautiful little coves, some of the most beautiful beaches in the area.
Visit Rochefort and its Cordería Real
That is why the area of museums and recreation around the Cordería Real is one of its main attractions. I confess that the idea of visiting a “string museum” does not sound so attractive in principle. However, I recommend that you pass through this enormous complex (the old shipyard) where the museum operates. It is an impressive building from 1666, with no less than 374 meters long.
It is a wonderful example of the industrial architecture of the time, the site where the ropes for all the ships in the French navy were made. The royal ropes worked until the appearance of steamships. The building, damaged in the Second World War and later restored, is adapted to the new times: the museum is pleasant and didactic and is very entertaining for a half-day walk.
You can see more information in the
More ideas and activities in the surroundings of La Rochelle
And more….visit the tourist centres of Charente or the coast of Vendée, get in touch with nature in the Natural Park of the Poitou Marsh (and also visit the Abbey of Maillezais there). These last ones are all activities that in my case are pending. It’s my excuse for embarking on a new journey to Charente-Maritime.
(*) All images belong to Matías Callone and are under Creative Commons license / The visit to La Rochelle and surroundings was in the framework of the TBM Poitiers (Travel Blogger Meeting) organized in conjunction with the Regional Tourism Committee of Nouvelle-Aquitaine.
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