A city to walk in!
If possible, drop your car down.. La Rochelle center is meant to be discovered by bike or on foot.
Your walk will likely includes interesting spots.
Le Vieux Port, the basins and yachts berthed in them.
Le Vieux Port and the Quartier Gabut. This area used to be for housing and shopping. Lately, it became a place with eateries, terrasses. Interesting nightlife as well. The setting of the houses is interesting in Gabut. The buildings painted in different bright colours remind of the North of Europe.
Le Vieux Port and the towers. Tours St-Nicolas, de la Chaîne et de la lanterne... They deserve some visit since some houses museums, historical pieces of collection.
The quays are nice place to wander along water. Quay Duperré has nice terrasses from where you can see the manoeuvers of the yachts and boats entering the docks... with views on the three towers. Le Quartier ancien
From quai Duperré, access the Quartier ancien via la Porte de la Grosse Horloge. For centuries, it used to be the entry of the city.
Then take your right, Grande Rue des merciers. One of greatest arteries in the city. Always look up in the air. Buildings are from different styles. Either dating back to the XV and XVII centuries, either Middle age lumber plastered facades, with slate shells them(picture), either Renaissance houses with carved stone facades, all of that is there. The arches at pavement level just protect shops from the rain. Stroll till you reach Rue de l'Hôtel de ville at your left, then Place de l'Hôtel de ville.
At Hôtel de ville, enter the gate to admire its architecture. XVI century and Renaissance settings. Turrets and arches. Photographers' heaven with its belfry. Some plaques to inform you about the building.
From this place, admire the impressive post office. You wouldn't think of a post office.
I saw the mayor of La Rochelle on his bike. It's true that we were just a day after "La journée sans voiture". Also, it's true that the city promotes the clean transportation.
Leave the Hôtel de ville, either by following Rue de la grille then continue with Rue des merciers, either take Rue Saint-Yon, street packed with shops too. Clothing shops as well as antiques boutiques.
Anyway, you will reach la Place du marché. A place edged by Rue St Yon, Rue de la forme, Rue Thiers and another one I don't recall. Watch locals in their daily activities. Don't miss specific buildings around.
Perpendicular to Rue St Yon, you have streets like Rue Fleuriau, where to find Musée du Nouveau Monde, some antiques shops.
Place de Verdun is the place where the ancient palace stood. Now, it's a place where coaches and buses end up. Under this place is the main parking.
Finally, it's a city edged by a huge park. You may chill out in this park. With its 2km length and 200m width, enough place to rest or just chat amongst greenery.