La Rochelle

La Rochelle, its port, its towers and its fortified city

As the Gîte de la Gravée is only 50km (31 miles) from La Rochelle it’s a great opportunity to visit during your stay.

La Rochelle is a place where history has left its marks and several monuments are proof of this. It is also a busy modern town which attracts lots of visitors charmed by its ports, shopping arcades and small street-filled shops, its aquarium and it offers access to the islands in the Atlantic, especially the Ile de Ré.

Every summer in July the ‘Francofolies’ music festival takes place and every year the floating international boat show the ‘Grand Pavois’ opens its doors at La Rochelle Marina.


History is alive today in La Rochelle


La Rochelle France


History is alive today in La Rochelle, the large clock (see photo above) is an ancient gateway to the fortified city, dating from the era of William 10th, Duke of Aquitaine.

La Rochelle is an old fishing village which has, over the centuries, become an important port: a major trade port and also it was the port from which the New World Conquerors departed.

It is from this port that two young men from Saint Michel le Cloucq, Sébastien et Charles Gingreau left to travel to the New France, which we now know as Canada.

The 19th century saw the creation of the ‘Port de la Pallice’ the commercial deep-water port which was chosen by the Germans during the Second World War as their U-boat base. La Rochelle was the last town in France to be liberated in 1945.

Why not visit the bunker (le bunker) in the town centre which as reserved for officers of the U-boat base?


The Towers of La Rochelle



The Towers of La Rochelle need no introduction.  There are three and they guard the Old Port: The St Nicolas Tower, the Chain Tower (also called the 4 Sergeants tower) guard the entrance to the Old Port.

The St Nicolas Tower has served as a prison and royal residence.  It was linked by a huge and heavy chain to the Chain Tower to prevent entrance to the port.  At the time taxes and access rights were demanded from people who wished to enter.

A little further along the ‘Lantern Tower’, the oldest lighthouse on the Atlantic coast, is an ancient relic of the medieval ramparts.

Where to go?
If you fancy shopping the narrow shopping streets with boutiques in the arcades will satisfy the most ardent window shoppers.

If you would like to go for a walk the old port, well protected by the three towers is now a marina and there is lots going on around the quays. There are plenty of cafes and restaurants along the Duperré quay.

There are free self service bikes available for you which you can use to visit the different areas of La Rochelle.

La Rochelle is not just a city but also has a rich architectural heritage:

• The ‘Arcades’ arch walkways date back to the Middle Ages and the half timbered houses date back to the same era
• The numerous hotels, including the Renaissance ones in particular
• The Large clock, the original entrance to the city now offering access to the famous ‘arcades’


The Ports of La Rochelle

boats at the old port-la-Rochelle


La Rochelle is now home to three ports – the fishing port in the Chef de Baie area, the commercial deep water port and the marina known as les Minimes.

Did you know that it is possible to take a boat trip to visit the three ports ? Our suggestion is to take the bus from the sea to the old port to the Minimes port.


Other things to see



Don’t forget there is an aquarium home to 12000 marine animals and lots of museums too.


maritim museum-La-Rochelle

We love the maritime museum with its weather boat. A great thing to do if you have children with enquiring minds!


Our Recommendations for local specialities

There are many restaurants to suit all tastes and purses in La Rochelle.

For seafood lovers the best place to go is Uncle Louis’ (Tonton Louis) located at Chef de Baie for the freshest seafood buffet.