La Rochelle France is a seaport town on the Atlantic coast. Boasting an impressive maritime history, visitors come to La Rochelle to see gems such as Vieux Port or Old Harbor, and the city's well-maintained historic architecture. Gourmet restaurants offer excellent dining, while a walk along the walls of the city provide exceptional views. Visitors can explore submarine pens from World War II or the city’s botanical garden. La Rochelle is also home to Jacques-Yves Cousteau’s ship, The Calypso, as well as Europe’s largest pleasure boat marina. La Rochelle also hosts the annual FrancoFolies music festival every summer.
La Rochelle History
La Rochelle History
Until La Rochelle France was founded as a city in the tenth century, the land was occupied by several different tribes, including Gallic and Roman. In 1130, rule of the region was granted to the Duke of Aquitaine, who established a communal charter, allowing the city’s industry to flourish. For a short period in the 12th century, La Rochelle was under Plantagenet rule, after the Duke’s daughter, Eleanor of Aquitaine, married Henry II of England. During this time, La Rochelle is believed to have served as an influential seat of the Knight’s Templar. However, Louis VIII’s victorious siege in 1224 brought La Rochelle back under French rule. During the Renaissance, La Rochelle became a seat of Protestant religious reform and endured a great number of religious wars. Many of La Rochelle’s Protestant citizens fled to the New World because of religious persecution.
However, despite numerous wars and sieges, La Rochelle’s shipping and trade industry continued to prosper. La Rochelle thrived for many years as France’s largest Atlantic harbor. In addition to exporting wine, cheese, and salt, La Rochelle imported furs from Nouvelle France in Canada, sugar from the West Indies, and slaves from Africa. It wasn’t until France lost many territories during the Napoleonic Wars that La Rochelle’s industry began to decline. With increasing conflicts with Britain and slavery outlawed in the United States, the harbor of La Rochelle shrunk drastically. However, its historical importance peaked again in 1864, when La Rochelle became the birthplace of the first mechanically powered submarine. After German occupation during World War II, the Germans used La Rochelle as a submarine naval base. Subsequently, it was the last city to be liberated by the Allies in May of 1945.
La Rochelle Hotels
La Rochelle Hotels
La Rochelle offers a variety of lodging options. Travelers that appreciate finer amenities can indulge in hotels such as the modern Masqhotel (pictured), offering suites, in-room dining, and complimentary internet access. Excellent bed and breakfasts are plentiful in La Rochelle, including Entres Hotes, offering excellent service, delicious daily breakfast, and very comfortable rooms. Budget travelers can take advantage of the city’s many vacation residences, such as Pierre & Vacances Residence Centre. Private vacation homes are also available throughout the city.
La Rochelle Beach
La Rochelle, France
There are three main beaches in La Rochelle France. Perhaps the most popular with locals is La Plage Chef de Baie, located near La Pallice port in the district of Port Neuf. Due to its location outside the city center, Chef de Baie is quiet. Its sands, sheltered from wind by a dam, can be very wide at low tide. There is also a grassy area for children to play. The largest beach is La Plage des Minimes. Located in a very tourist-friendly part of La Rochelle, this beach has many resorts, dining options, and shops nearby. La Plage de la Concurrence is also located within the city, within easy walking distance of the historic towers. This beach is most popular at high tide, since low tide reveals a great deal of mud.