One way I would like to start off 2019 is with a fresh journal entry. The setting is just off the midwest coast of France is the old, well-preserved town of La Rochelle. Although its main feature is the "Vieux Port" ("Old Harbour"), which is at the heart of the city, picturesque and lined with seafood restaurants, there is so much more to see. Below I dive into 5 districts, 2 suggestions for each.
Le quartier Saint-Nicolas
If you take the train to La Rochelle, this is where the station will drop you off! When you first arrive, with or without luggage, on the way to your home away from home, take a stroll down rue Saint-Claude for a beautiful first take of the city. Once you are settled in, be sure to traverse rue Saint-Nicolas where, if it’s Wednesday or Saturday, there’s an all-day flea market. While there, stop for a croissant or a sandwich at Boulangerie St Nicolas, 17 Rue Saint-Nicolas 17000, or Cave de la Guignette, 8 rue Saint-Nicolas 17000, for an appero.
Home of the market located in Place du Marché, you can expect fresh seafood every morning both in the square and inside the 19th-century market hall. It’s the reason we hardly ever eat out when we are in town - easy access to fresh oysters, vegetables, cheeses, and just about anything else you need for the perfect home-cooked meal! Just across the street, you will find a wonderful wine selection at La Joie du Vin, 12 Rue Thiers 17000. La Maison Merling, 25 rue Gambetta 17000, is one of my favorite shops with a large selection of things for the coffee lover in your life. This is also the district where you can find any necessary photography equipment at Pause Photo - 8 Rue du Cordouan 17000.
Hôtel de Ville quartier
Stop along Quai de Maubec at one of a selection of cafes and restaurants for coffee or a bite to eat before a big day of shopping. Of these, Le Pass'port, 10 Quai Duperré 17000, sits perfectly on the furthest corner to take in the sights and people watch. Afterwards, head into town and don’t miss Nature et Decouvertes, 9 Rue des Merciers 17000, for it’s quirky selection or to find the perfect gift for someone. This quarter also hosts Les galeries de la rue fleuriau (Le Relais Dar, Galerie Fleuriau and La Mini Galerie), 15 Rue Fleuriau 17000, where you can take in art and current expositions.
Grosse Horloge/ Verdun quartier
Shop the arcades, rain or shine, including Les Galeries Lafayette, Librairie Calligrammes and callimages, and Pâtisserie d’Jolly, 13 Rue Chef de Ville 17000, to name a few. Don’t forget to stop for a coffee at the beautiful Café de la paix, 54 Rue Chaudrier 17000.
Vieux Port quartier
This is where you will find the best seafood bistros with a view. The area is a great option for a quick stroll around the Old Port. It is both stunning at night time and charming during the day. You can grab an ice cream or street food while enjoying the view. La Rochelle’s medieval towers – Tour St-Nicolas and Tour de la Chaîne – stand guard at the entrance to the Vieux Port. During the holiday season, a Christmas market is held here and the towers are lit up, making a spectacular show.
Star this map to access in google maps or on your phone later - Happy traveling!