Réserve Naturelle Marais d'Yves

La Rochelle

An easy 15km drive south of La Rochelle, this nature reserve runs a free nature centre where you can peer through telescopes to watch some of the 192-hectare reserve's 250 bird species amid the wetlands. Depending on the season, you might see flocks of over 20,000 birds fill the sky on their migratory path. The website lists various guided walks, bike rides and safaris through the wetlands – many in English and aimed squarely at children – where you'll also learn about the area's 750 species of frogs, flowers and insects.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby La Rochelle attractions

1. Musée Maritime

7.83 MILES

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,…

2. Aquarium La Rochelle

7.98 MILES

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…

4. Tour St-Nicolas

8.18 MILES

The only tower to be decked out like a house, this 37m-high pentagonal stone tower has leaned slightly to one side ever since building was complete in…

5. Tour de la Chaîne

8.21 MILES

To protect the harbour at night in times of war, an enormous chain was raised between the two 14th-century stone towers at the harbour entrance to La…

6. 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…

7. Tour de la Grosse Horloge

8.35 MILES

The gateway to the old city, Tour de la Grosse Horloge is a steadfast Gothic-style clock tower with a 12th-century base and 18th-century top.

8. Musée du Nouveau Monde


La Rochelle's role as a departure point for North America is interpreted at this museum, housed in an elegant courtyard-clad mansion built in 1750.