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La Rochelle-La Pallice (Photo:Oleg Bakhirev/Shutterstock)
5.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating

By Cruise Critic Staff

Port of La Rochelle-La Pallice

It's a shame that more ships don't call on La Rochelle, because it can easily keep history buffs, museum mavens, shopaholics and foodies busy for a full day. What's more, it's the gateway to shore excursions that take you oyster-tasting, cognac-sipping or paddling down the otherworldly canals of the Marais Poitevin park, known as France's "Green Venice."

A major Atlantic port since the 13th century, La Rochelle first traded in wine and salt, then was part of the triangular trade with the New World. Evidence of merchant wealth is everywhere in the ancient center -- from medieval slate-roofed half-timber houses, to the fine stone carvings on 16th-century facades, to the arcaded streets where wares were once displayed. However, most of the town's fortifications were destroyed when the staunchly Protestant town was besieged for 13-months by royal Catholic troops in 1627-28.

The Old Port is guarded by three remaining 14th to 15th-century stone towers (clear that photo card!), which stalwarts can climb for great views. You'll also find historic graffiti carved into the walls, including detailed sailing ships, etched by prisoners of war who were once jailed in the towers.

About La Rochelle-La Pallice


Pro

La Rochelle is brimming with history and offers access to a number of intriguing activities

Con

There's a lot to do in and around La Rochelle, so paring down your options could be a challenge

Bottom Line

Whether you stay within La Rochelle itself, or venture out a bit, you're sure to find something interesting to do


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Currency & Best Way to Get Money

The currency in France is the euro; for current currency conversion figures visit www.oanda.com or www.xe.com. There are no ATMs at the port, which is in an industrial area north of town, but they are plentiful at banks in La Rochelle. Credit cards are usually accepted at most businesses.

Language

The language is French, but locals who interact with tourists speak at least some English, as do tourist office staff.