La Rochelle Aquarium
Open throughout the year La Rochelle Aquarium plunges you into the marine world and increases environmental awareness. It is home to over 12 000 animals and marine mammals : jellyfish, tortoises, coral, sharks, clown fish, octopus, ray, groupers, moray eels and many other surprising, beautiful species.
Musée des automates (automated toy museum) and miniature model museum
The museum comprises two vast exhibitions halls (over 1800m²) where over 300 automated toys are displayed. Don't miss : the area devoted to ancient automated toys (before 1900), publicity automatons (1920 à 1950), historic recontructions, animated shop window displays...
Vieux Port (old port)
Discover the Vieux Port of La Rochelle. The entrance to the Vieux Port is guarded by two medieval towers, the Tour Saint-Nicolas and the Tour de la Chaîne. The port was built in the 18th century as a fort to protect the city. It is surrounded by impressive towers, still intact, which resisted destruction during the 1628 siege. Immortalised by numerous famous artists such as Corot and Vernet, the Vieux port is now a pleasure boat port as all fishing activities have been transferred to the new port, La Pallice.
Take a boat trip around this huge building in the sea which is 68 metres long and 31 metres wide. Departing from La Rochelle harbour, you can get a close up view of this impressive fort which is a filming location for a TV game show. It was built between 1804 and 1866 on the foundations of a sandbank to prevent English ships taking the arsenal of Rochefort and harbour of Ile d'Aix.
Head for this oyster-farming port lined with dozens of fishing huts then visit the Vauban citadel. The best way to explore the 175 square kilometres of the island is by bike. Discover Boyardville, Saint-Georges-d’Oléron, cycle along La Perrotine canal, a favourite spot with oyster farmers and fishermen, then head for the wild coast for a complete change of scenery.
Ile de Ré
From La Rochelle, set off for the island of Ré by boat and discover a different way of life, a unique architectural style and preserved natural heritage. To see and do : the village of Rivedoux and its long promenade on the seafront, the Fort de la Prée (1626), La Flotte-en-Ré and its pretty harbour, market and peaceful ambiance...
Set off for Ile d'Aix, a small island 3 km long and 700 m large, listed a natural remarkable site. Ile d'Aix is a beautiful island boasting every landscape imaginable. To preserve the island, it can only be visited on foot or by bike. After a 20 minute crossing, you can walk around the island in 3 hours, take an hour long tour on a horse-drawn carriage or hire a bike and explore the island at your own pace.
Vélodyssée (cycle trail)
Your circuit : La Rochelle, Chatellaillon, Rochefort, Marennes, La Palmyre, Royan. Discover the treasures of Charente-Maritime along the longest cycle trail in France, marked from beginning to end. From La Rochelle harbour, the Vélodyssée takes you to Châtelaillon-Plage and the royal city of Rochefort. After a few bends, you will see La Seudre marshlands then the Marennes oyster farm. From then on the cycle path takes you through a pine forests to Royan.
The beaches in La Rochelle
La Rochelle boasts 3 beaches which are lifeguarded in July and August : Chef de Baie (fine sand, sheltered from the wind by a seawall), La Concurrence (located in the town centre) and Les Minimes (near the marina and Parc des Pères, very busy in the summer). All easily accessible and safe, you can relax and soak up the sun whilst the children play in the sand.