The Port of La Pallice replaced the commercial functions of the City of La Rochelle’s Old Port, which is the oldest and most beautiful part of La Rochelle. With narrow winding streets and stone buildings, the area has a Mediterranean look and feel. Three medieval defensive towers still guard the harbor, and visitors can climb the stairs and learn about the history of each room.
The aquarium is near the Port of La Pallice, and visitors will enjoy the 2- to 3-hour tour, especially when the weather outside is cold or wet. The Port des Minimes, La Rochelle’s marina, holds one of Europe’s largest collections of recreational vessels. The island of Re offers wonderful beaches, the best cuisine, and biking trails to please the most demanding bicyclists.
Each July, the city hosts the Les Francofolies (French), an important French-language music festival featuring musicians from around the world and attracting as many as 100 thousand music lovers.
Near the Old Port, the Quartier du Gabut (French) was once the fishermen’s quarter. Today, the wooden cabins and sheds have been converted into bars, shops, and restaurants. Nearby is a long dock with the market and service buildings of the Old Port that now houses the Musee Maritime. The Musee des Automates is just a 10-minute walk away on rue Desiree. It houses a collection of 300 puppets.