La Rochelle: what to do, what to see...

The old port is a wonderful starting point from which to explore the southwestern city of La Rochelle, and indeed to enjoy the fish, seafood and oysters for which this city is famed. The traditional fishing cabins called Carrelets still stand on the foreshore and the old Saint Nicolas fishing district, a very popular spot for the Rochelais, has become a bohemian and artistic district. But it is the streets lined with arcades that are the real particularity of this town.
WHAT TO SEE

• The three towers of La Rochelle are reminders of the medieval maritime fortifications.
• La Rochelle's streets full of arcades revealing its trading past
• The rich and moving collections of La Rochelle's museums of science, art, history, nature and passions.
• The decks of the Carrelets cabins where fishermen cast their large square nets
• Saint Nicolas, the city's old fishing district and a bohemian and artistic quarter

WHAT TO DO

• Look out across the ocean from the old port
• Explore the heart of the oceans at the Aquarium and discover more than 12,000 species
• Boat trips on a speedboat, fast boat, sailing boat or catamaran for a seafaring interlude
• Meet the traders and producers under the 19th Century covered market
• La Rochelle by bike to discover 160km of cycle paths

WHAT TO TASTE

• An ice-cream from craftsman Ernest "Le Glacier"; nearly 70 flavours to choose from
• Farci Charentais green vegetable pâté from the 19th Century market
• Fish, seafood and, in particular, oysters
• Pineau des Charentes, a fortified wine made from grape juice and Cognac
• Guignette of La Rochelle, a flavoured drink bearing the famous bistro's name

WHAT TO BRING BACK

• A traditional sailor's knife or pocket knife from Couteaux Farol
• Bags and accessories in sailing canvas from Espritvoiles
• A yellow and black shirt, scarf or flag of the "Atlantique Stade Rochelais" rugby team
• A bottle of both types of Pineau des Charentes: white and rosé
• Fleur de Sel salt

Getting to La Rochelle