This delightfully unspoiled seaside town has been an important port since Eleanor of Aquitaine, granted its first charter in 1199. The heart of the 17th- and 18th-century city center lies between the harbor and the place de Verdun, just a ten minute walk away. Several 14th-century towers remain, including two which once anchored the opposite ends of a large chain that was slung across the harbor entrance at night to keep out intruders. Today, the harbor provides sanctuary to more yachts than working boats. Stroll along the Rue du Palais, lined with shops in well-preserved 18th-century slate and half-timbered houses, or perhaps enjoy a coffee and pastry in the Belle Epoque Cafe de la Paix. Among the numerous diversions are several interesting museums, including the Musee des Automates, featuring over 300 mechanical puppets, as well as one of the largest aquariums in France.
La Rochelle is also your gateway to the Charentes and Cognac - home, of course, to one of the world's great spirits.
Founded in 1863, the company is the only Cognac distiller that has been produced by five generations of the Camus family. Today, it's renowned as the one of the world's largest distillers of fine Cognac.
Many of the world-famous Cognac distilleries store their barrels filled with Cognac in underground caves where light is low and the temperature rarely varies ensuring a rich and flavorful liquor.
Like taking a step back in time, this quaint village is home to the medieval Saint Pierre Cathedral. Its life as a former Roman port is evident at the 1st century Arch of Germanicus.
La Roche Courbon
This storybook 17th century castle was in ruins until it was restored in the 1920s. Today, classified as a Historic Monument the impressive grounds are acclaimed as one of the Notable Gardens of France.
St. Martin de Re
The capital of Ile de Re boasts a beautiful harbor, winding cobbled streets, quaint whitewashed houses and imposing fortified 17th century walls recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
With its idyllic atmosphere, traditional white houses with traditional green shutters and profusion of flowers, it's no surprise that Ars-en-Re has earned the title "one of the most beautiful villages of France."
Abbaye des Chateliers
Built by monks in 1152 on the island of Ile de Re, the ancient monastery that included a church and cloister once served as a revered place of pilgrimage; today, it lies in ruins.
Set on the banks of the Sèvre, Coulon has appointed itself "capital of Green Venice" and is a perfect place to begin explorations of the marshy region that wraps around this enchanting village.
Special Child Pricing Available! Children age 12 and younger, savings up to 50%.
Ile de Re
4.5 hours | La Rochelle | LRH-205L R H - 2 0 5
Abbaye des Chateliers
St. Martin de Re
Explore enchanting Ile de Re, a picturesque island off the coast of La Rochelle. Walk along the narrow, cobblestone lanes of St. Martin de Re, lined with whitewashed 18th century buildings. Visit a fisherman's village surrounded by salt marshes and view the ruins of a 12th century abbey.
Discover the secrets of making Cognac with a visit to Camus Cognac. Tour the caves and cellars where barrels full of Cognac are stored to develop its unique flavor profile. Then, learn to create - and enjoy - your own special blend, which will be bottled and labeled for you.
Put on your walking shoes for a tour of historic La Rochelle. Visit the old harbor and view its two famous towers. Marvel at the sights along the city's main shopping street Rue du Palais including the Hotel De Ville.
Walk through the pages of history with guided tours of two mesmerizing sites. First, stroll through the ancient city of Saintes. See the majestic Cathedral of Saint Pierre where John Calvin preached and the Arch of Germanicus. Then, travel to La Roche Courbon for a tour of the "Sleeping Beauty" castle.
Local Connections: La Rochelle Highlights & Tasting at Château La Péraudière with the Normandin-Mercier Family
3.75 hours | La Rochelle | LRH-385L R H - 3 8 5
Discover the highlights of La Rochelle by motorcoach and on a guided walking tour. Visit the Chateau de La Péraudière, where the Normandin-Mercier family will welcome you into the distillery facilities, the Cognac aging cellars and the tasting room.
Picture a day filled with adventures in and around the quaint medieval village of Cognac. First, enjoy a walking tour of Saintes, a charming hamlet whose roots date back to the Roman Empire. Then, hold history in a glass on a guided tour and tasting in the Royal Chateau de Cognac, at the renowned Baron Otard distillery.
Bordeaux On your Own & Cite du Vin (Bordeaux Wine Museum)
9 hours | La Rochelle | LRH-190L R H - 1 9 0
Designed for independent travelers, explore Bordeaux, a UNESCO World Heritage Site on your own. Visit La Cité du Vin (Bordeaux Wine Museum), where wine comes to life through a self-guided experience. Lunch on your own.