I stayed for a week in La Rochelle and we did all the tourist things, from visiting the infamous Fort Boyard, home of the TV show that I used to watch as a kid religiously every week, to eating Oysters for breakfast at the market, we did it all while having a superb weather for the most part.
The center of the town is an old fortress that was used to protect the city from invasions and the remains are all breathtaking. However, the city also has a modern appeal, with one of the biggest aquariums in Europe, and some inviting bars and outdoors venues where the younger crowd gathers for various events.
The streets were covered with art installations that brought the city to life and the lush parks around the city were full of wildlife and if you feel lucky, there’s a small casino with a beautiful view of the Harbor.
The two islands nearby (l'île de Ré and Ile d’Oléron) were both stunning and the people we met along the way were all incredibly friendly. The beaches were pristine and the air was invigorating. The colorful towns were scattered between vineyards and “marais salants” and the roads were mainly used by cyclists who never seemed to be in a hurry.
Oyster shells adorned a small bridge in the town of Le Chateau d’Oléron that were used instead of locks to immortalize the many couples who walked on it. Their names forever displayed for the world to see, until the next big storm blows them away in the distance, a stark reminder of how fast love can vanish.
And always take the café gourmand, you will never regret it