Don't Miss in La Rochelle-La Pallice
Cafe Culture: We really advise you to be a flaneur, someone who just wanders, perhaps stopping at an outdoor cafe for an icy platter of shellfish washed down with crisp white wine. Grab a table on the terrace at Andre, right on the Old Port, and check out the interior rooms, too, for the interesting decor at this historic restaurant. (5 rue St-Jean du Perot; 33 5 46 41 28 24; open daily, except December 25, 8 a.m. to midnight.)
Old Town: If you want to dig deeper, there are plenty of attractions around the old town, such as an impressive aquarium with more than 12,000 marine creatures and a multistory rain forest environment or a WWII German bunker that was a nerve center for submarine operations.
Museums: Museums include the fascinating New World Museum, where the collection of paintings, sculpture, old maps and more gives you a look at how La Rochelle's traders viewed America (10 rue Fleuriau; 33 54 64 1 46 50; opening hours vary); the dockside Maritime Museum, with a flotilla of old boats (Place Bernard Moitessier, Bassin des Chalutiers; 33 5 46 28 03 00; open daily 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. from April 1 through October.); the Fine Arts Museum, housing a collection spanning the 15th to 20th centuries (28 rue Gargoulleau; 33 5 46 41 64 65; 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1:45 p.m. to 5 p.m., closed Tuesday, 2 to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday); and the Museum of Natural History, with a collection that started in the 18th century. (28 rue Albert 1er; 33 5 46 41 18 25; closed Monday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday to Friday, 2 to 9 p.m. Saturday and 2 to 7 p.m. Sunday.)