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La Rochelle

(3.9/5 based on 10,000+ reviews for top 30 attractions)
Things to do: zoos & aquariums, nature, museums

White City

Driving on the narrow streets can be difficult in La Rochelle so walking or biking will give you the best view of the pale stone buildings that give the Vieux Port, or old port, a distinctly Mediterranean quality. Connected to the Île de Ré by a long 2.9 km (1.8 mi) bridge, this is the capital of the Charente-Maritime department in the Poitou-Charentes region. The historic port is the oldest and most picturesque part of this city on the Atlantic Ocean lined with seafood restaurants, harbor towers, and well-maintained historical buildings. If possible, stay in town after dusk to see the three defensive towers lit by bright lights, which are especially beautiful at night. The best way for you to see the city is from the water by chartering a boat trip from the harbor. Use our France vacation planner to arrange the details of your trip to La Rochelle and other destinations.
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Where to stay

To discover La Rochelle's rich architectural heritage, book your rooms at a stylish hotel near the city's picturesque old harbor. From there, you can easily explore the city's oldest areas, while remaining within easy walking distance of modern tourist attractions, such as the aquarium and natural history museum. If you're travelling on a limited budget, consider staying farther away from the old harbor, where you can choose from a selection of small inns, private B&Bs, and good-value hostels.
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