La Rochelle

Travel Guide
La Rochelle showing heritage elements and a coastal town

See the ocean from multiple angles in this medieval seafaring city, which features beaches, an aquarium, a maritime museum and one of Europe’s largest marinas.

The 10th-century city of La Rochelle, has always been centered on the ocean. Originally a fishing village, La Rochelle developed into one of France’s most important ports, sending off the first French settlers to Quebec. Learn about La Rochelle’s seafaring past in its museums, see the grand structures of its Old Port and dip your feet in the Bay of Biscay on one of its several beaches.

Start out at the Old Port, where you will find the two towers that are La Rochelle’s most iconic landmarks. Tour de la Lanterne guards the port and has a 70-foot-tall (21-meter) spire. Climb to the top for views of the city and the Île de Ré Bridge to the north. The westerly Tour de la Chaîne also has wonderful views from its top. Tour Saint-Nicolas, a third tower identical to Tour de la Chaîne, stands farther west.

Wade in the water off Concurrence Beach, a small stretch of sand west of the Old Port. The larger Minimes Beach lies south of the city.

Head to the harbor to find the Maritime Museum. This consists of eight historic boats floating in the water, three of which you can board and explore for a fee. Learn about the waters around the city at La Rochelle Aquarium. Spanning all three stories of the building is one gigantic shark tank, featuring nurse and reef sharks among others.

The city’s other museums include the Natural History Museum, featuring a wide array of marine fossils, and the Musée des Automates, which exhibits more than 300 animatronic figurines. Check out the Museum of Fine Arts to see a broad collection of European art with an emphasis on the French realist painters from around La Rochelle.

Get around the compact city of La Rochelle on foot and by bus. Reach the city through its regional airport, which is served by inexpensive airlines from many cities around Europe. Otherwise, for the most appropriate experience, enter the city by ferry boat.

Where to stay in La Rochelle

ibis La Rochelle Vieux-Port
ibis La Rochelle Vieux-Port
3 out of 5
Place Du Cdt De La Motte Rouge, La Rochelle, Nouvelle-Aquitaine
The price is £57 per night from 17 Oct to 17 Oct
Located in La Rochelle City Centre, this eco-friendly hotel is within a 10-minute walk of L'Espace Encan de La Rochelle, Vieux Port, and Grand Temple. Maritime ...
4.4/5Excellent! (143 reviews)
Great stay
"We stayed one night here as part of a motorcycle trip. The location of the hotel is superb - right where you want to be - history, bars, restaurants and beach all within a few minutes. La Rochelle is a great place and I would definitely recommend this hotel to stay in."

Reviewed on 9 Dec 2020

ibis La Rochelle Vieux-Port
Maisons du Monde Hôtel & Suites - La Rochelle Vieux Port
Maisons du Monde Hôtel & Suites - La Rochelle Vieux Port
3 rue St Jean du Perot, 4 place de la chaine, La Rochelle, Charente-Maritime
The price is £80 per night from 10 Oct to 10 Oct
Located in La Rochelle City Centre, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Tour de la Chaine and Vieux Port. Aquarium La Rochelle is 0.6 mi (1 km) away. La ...
Maisons du Monde Hôtel & Suites - La Rochelle Vieux Port
Maison des Ambassadeurs
Maison des Ambassadeurs
5 out of 5
43, rue du Minage, La Rochelle, Charente-Maritime
The price is £113 per night from 18 Oct to 18 Oct
This family-friendly La Rochelle hotel is located by the ocean, within a 10-minute walk of La Rochelle Central Market and Vieux Port. Aquarium La Rochelle is ...
4.3/5Excellent! (9 reviews)
"An excellent and rustic boutique hotel in the center of La Rochelle. Great staff."

Reviewed on 9 Jul 2021

Maison des Ambassadeurs
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.
Appart'City La Rochelle
Appart'City La Rochelle
8 rue Franc Lapeyre, La Rochelle
The price is £58 per night from 19 Sep to 19 Sep
Situated near the beach, this residence is within a 15-minute walk of Parc des Expositions de La Rochelle and Vieux Port. Grand Temple and L'Espace Encan de ...
3.8/5Good! (245 reviews)
"While the property is showing it’s wear in a few places, that wasn’t an issue at all. The staff is so friendly and helpful, the paid parking is a very small amount for being able to leave the vehicle there after you have checked out for the day, and we appreciated having a kitchenette with kids for ..."

Reviewed on 11 Aug 2021

Appart'City La Rochelle
Lagrange Apart'HOTEL L'Escale Marine
Lagrange Apart'HOTEL L'Escale Marine
3 out of 5
36 Avenue Amerigo Vespucci, La Rochelle
The price is £64 per night from 19 Sep to 19 Sep
Located in La Rochelle City Centre, this residence is within a 10-minute walk of Musee des Automates and Aquarium La Rochelle. Vieux Port is 0.7 mi (1.1 km) ...
3.8/5Good! (506 reviews)
Best value we've found in La Rochelle.
"Excellent value in an expensive town. The studio had everything we needed - a well-equipped little kitchen, good-sized bathroom with excellent shower, etc. Big comfortable bed. First-class breakfast. Even an indoor swimming pool, which we had all to ourselves. A 15-20 minute gentle level stroll into ..."

Reviewed on 18 Sep 2020

Lagrange Apart'HOTEL L'Escale Marine
Résidence New Rochelle
Résidence New Rochelle
17 Avenue du Lazaret, La Rochelle
The price is £62 per night from 17 Oct to 17 Oct
Situated near the beach, this apartment building is within a 5-minute walk of Port des Minimes and Minimes Beach. University of La Rochelle and Musee des Automates ...
4/5Very Good! (82 reviews)
"I booked a superior room for my family, the shower was broken, the folding bed for my son was broken! We had to move rooms, but the broken bed we had to fix as there were no spare beds at all!!"

Reviewed on 1 Aug 2021

Résidence New Rochelle
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

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