Tour St-Nicolas

La Rochelle

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 1376. It was originally used for both defensive purposes and as a royal residence, and the different rooms can still be visited. City views from the rooftop terrace are predictably fine – count 120-odd steps in total to the top.

Consider renting an audioguide (€3) to get the most out your visit. In season free guided tours depart at 11am and 3pm.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby La Rochelle attractions

1. Tour de la Chaîne

0.06 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…

2. Tour de la Grosse Horloge

0.17 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.

3. 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…

4. Tour de la Lanterne

0.23 MILES

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…

6. Musée Maritime

0.38 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,…

7. 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.

8. Musée des Beaux-Arts

0.43 MILES

La Rochelle's Museum of Fine Arts, housed inside a stunning neoclassical building, hosts an impressive collection of 15th- to 20th-century art.