La Rochelle is a very attractive and unspoilt seaside town on the coast between Nantes
. The coast around La Rochelle has safe sandy beaches and makes an ideal holiday destination especially if you have young children. It has a long tradition as a fishing port; there are in effect four ports the Port de Commerce is mostly used by container ships, the Port de Pêche a fishing port, the historic Vieux Port and the Port de Plaisance a modern yacht marina.
You may want to spend some time admiring all the yachts and boats at the harbours, you can enjoy a gentle stroll along the harbour front which is lined with restaurants and cafes, you can have some refreshments and watch the activities of the yachts or just watch the world go by!
As you find your way around the town you will come to the busy and lively shopping centre in the old town. Lining the main shopping street are 18th century houses some half-timbered and overhung with Rochelais style slates. Explore the labyrinth of ancient narrow and arcaded streets; you will see 16th and 17th century town houses and impressive mansions. The main shopping streets are rue du Palais, rue du Merciers and rue du Temple where there are many small shops and department stores to browse around or if you feel the need to shop!
You can explore La Rochelle town on your own or opt for a guided tour there are Horse Drawn Tours or tours on foot. You may want to take a boat trip and these are available from the Vieux Port, for more details and information on these you would need to call at the Tourist Office. For evening entertainment there are some fine restaurants you may like to try and plenty of bars, pubs and discos to enjoy.
A short walk from the towers of the old port is where you will find the large, modern Aquarium which has thousands of specimens from the oceans of the world living in natural habitats. Visitors here can wander through tropical oceanic surroundings see the sharks and turtles. This is an outstanding aquarium, interesting and well presented, adults and children alike will enjoy the visit.
In the city centre you will see the Hotel de Ville the 15-16th century Town Hall built in Gothic style and worth visiting, it is guided tours only, the interior contains Jean Guyton’s study furnished with the marble desk and his armchair, and the walls are hung with tapestries. Another interesting museum is the Musée du Nouveau-Monde which is housed in an 18th century town house with many architectural features.
A museum that will interest children is the Musée des Automates there is a collection of three hundred automated puppets. There are other museums you may like to visit while on holiday here depending on your interests, you can get more information on those from the Tourist Office. A cultural attraction which may be of interest is the Tour de la Lanterne; the tower was built in the 15th century once a lighthouse and later used as a prison. Within the spire are four rooms one of which offers lovely views over La Rochelle.
There are plenty of attractions and places of interest here to suit most ages La Rochelle is a popular holiday spot and in the main holiday season you will have to book in advance. The town is suitable for short or longer holiday breaks.