About La Rochelle
La Rochelle’s delightful setting on France’s Bay of Biscay coastline retains much of its historic appeal, notably the Old Harbour and the town centre, which is one of the best preserved on the Atlantic coast.
As well as its own attractions, La Rochelle also offers cruise visitors excellent opportunities for fascinating excursions into the surrounding countryside.
Cruise ships heading into La Rochelle are sailing in the wake of history – this ancient port from which many pioneers left to explore the new world, is today a very popular destination for visitors of all kinds.
The historic centre of La Rochelle is notable for its arcades, many medieval buildings, and especially the massive Clock Tower Gate, which separates the Old Harbour from the town itself. It’s worth taking a guided walking tour through the old town.
Many visitors to La Rochelle head for Cognac, a little town known all over the world as the home of the brandy of the same name. For beaches, the nearby Ile de Ré is linked to the mainland by a road bridge.
• Henri II’s house
• Maritime Museum
• Valois Château, the birthplace of Francis I
• Saintes, a picturesque market town
• Ile d’Oléron, France’s largest island after Corsica
• Le Marais aux Oiseaux bird park
Tourist Board of La Rochelle
Quai Georges Simenon 2, La Rochelle, France.
Tel: +33 5464 11468.
La Rochelle is home to many specialist shops, many of whose wares are perfect souvenirs for cruise visitors.
Best buys include Cognac and local porcelain from the town of Limoges. Additionally, lace, crystal glass, cheeses and, of course, wines, spirits and liqueurs are popular. There is a branch of the major French department store Galeries Lafayette.
The town brims with cafes and restaurants. Specialities include seafood, snails and local goat’s cheese – the choice is huge, whether you’re looking for a light snack like croque monsieur, or a fixed price three course lunch.
When to go:
La Rochelle has a mild and pleasant climate throughout the year, with the warmest temperatures during the summer (July-September). It can get chilly and wet in mid winter, but for temperatures to fall below freezing is unusual.
4.8km (3 miles).