La Rochelle’s Old Port, guarded by its medieval towers, is one of the most magnificent urban sights in France. Those towers are open to visitors and brim with 600 years of history.
The city has never really conformed with the rest of France: It was a Huguenot stronghold in the Wars of Religion, is firmly protestant today and has always set its gaze on the ocean.
The museums in the Old Quarter will tell you about the merchants and explorers who embarked on expeditions from the port and are replete with the artefacts they brought back. Fittingly, France’s premier aquarium is in La Rochelle.
Lets explore the best things to do in La Rochelle:
1. Old Harbour
La Rochelle’s harbour is the first thing to see when you arrive, not just because it’s gorgeous, but it demonstrates the close relationship the city has always had with the ocean . You can wander along Quai Duperré, savouring the iconic view of the Tour Saint-Nicolas and Tour de la Chaîne, painted by countless artists including Corot, Signac and Vernet.
Then take a seat under the awnings of one of the many quayside restaurants have a delicious seafood lunch as the little sailboats come and go.
It’s even prettier in the evening with the illuminated towers reflected in the waters.