Top things to do in Charente-Maritime

Top Choice Aquarium in La Rochelle

Aquarium La Rochelle

La Rochelle's state-of-the-art, family-friendly aquarium is home to 12,000 marine animals and 600 different species. Visits begin by descending in a clunky old 'submarine' to the ocean floor, where you're greeted by…
Top Choice Lighthouse in La Rochelle

Tour de la Lanterne

Easily mistaken for an ornate church spire, the conical 15th-century Tour de la Lanterne is La Rochelle's beauty queen. It was so named because of its role as the harbour's lighthouse (lit by an enormous candle) and…
Top Choice Design in La Rochelle

Prao Boutique

Vinyl collectibles and beautiful objects for the home, many handcrafted in the region, fill this small concept store. Design posters inspired by local lighthouses, surfing and shellfish by La Rochelle's very own Pra…
Top Choice Museum in La Rochelle

Musée Maritime

In a series of boldly coloured, red, blue and yellow canopied hangars at the Bassin à Flot, the Maritime Museum evokes the history of La Rochelle port, from the present to the days when Parisians would arrive by tra…
Top Choice Seafood in La Rochelle

Le Panier de Crabes

The Basket of Crabs is, funnily enough, a self-proclaimed bistrot de gens de mer (seafarers' bistro) dishing up sensational Marennes d'Oléron oysters, winkles and whelks, shrimps, crabs and extravagant seafood platt…
Top Choice Bar in La Rochelle

Chez Garcia – Cave de la Guiguette

For a sweet taste of 1930s La Rochelle, follow the hipster crowd to this rough-cut wine bar where little has changed since it opened in 1933 in a blacksmith's yard. Vintage photos and posters evoke the days when fis…
Top Choice Seafood in La Rochelle

André

Opened in the 1950s as a waterfront seafood cafe, André grew so popular it began buying adjacent shops. It is now an eye-catching maze of eight different interconnecting rooms, each with its own individual ambience …
Top Choice Lighthouse in Île de Ré

Phare des Baleines

For an overview of the island, follow the crowds to Phare des Baleines, the island's scarlet-tipped, 59m-tall lighthouse on its northwestern tip. Scale the dizzying, 257-step spiral staircase inside the 19th-century…
Top Choice Seafood in Île de Ré

Auberge Paysanne de la Mer

Grab a straw hat to keep off the sun, snag a table overlooking oyster beds and indulge in a plate of freshly shucked oysters, an entire crab, shrimps, langoustines or clams, washed down with a glass of chilled white…
Top Choice Seafood in La Rochelle

À la Gerbe de Blé

Lunch local. Between 10am and 1pm buy a dozen oysters from one of the stands in front of the Marché Central, pay and ask for them to be shucked, then head around the corner to this buzzing cafe-bar built into the re…