A two-day break
Two days will enable you to get a good feel for the city. A once fortified city, La Rochelle has many defence monuments, such as the medieval towers of the Old Port. Amongst these are the Saint Nicholas Tower, the Tour de la Châine and the Tour de la Lanterne. Another must see is the Port of the Big Clock, which once guarded the entrance to the merchant city. The city is not, however, known solely for its medieval décor; it has been built up over the ages. During your trip you should also visit some of the beautiful Renaissance architecture such as the Hotel de Ville (city hall) or the Chamber of Commerce building. While touring the old ports, you can’t miss the various little artistic canals or pools that were built during the Napoleonic era. A must-see is the Canal de Marans à la Rochelle, which is also called the Rompsay canal. If you can, also try and visit some of the beautiful surrounding islands !
A week-long stay
For a longer stay, take some time to visit the city’s numerous parks and gardens. The Charruyer Park was made a historical monument in 1931, having been built around the city’s old walls in 1685. 2km long and 200m wide, it is traversed by two little streams that flow into the ocean. The Frank Delmas Park was once a private garden but is now open to the public. The Delmas family that owned it was executed during WWII for resisting force, but their Villa Fort-Louis still stands in the centre of the 7-hectare botanical garden. The rest of your week can be spent going to the beach or to the many natural pools created during low tide. Another must-see is the “Phare du Bout du Monde” (Lighthouse at the end of the world), which is situated on the cape of the Ile des Etats. To finish it all off, spend some time in the city’s museums, such as the Musée des Beaux-Arts, the Orbigny-Bernon Museum or the Natural History Museum.
A family holiday
A historically-rich maritime city, La Rochelle will keep your entire family entertained. Your kids will especially love the city’s aquarium, which, as one of the largest European aquariums, holds more than 10,000 animals.