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Attraction in the Vendee.
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La Rochelle.
La Rochelle is not of course in the Vendee, but anyone who is visiting this part of France should make an effort to visit this most exquisite of towns. It is often referred to as the Jewel in the Bay of Biscay.
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Situated just inside the Charente Maritime, La Rochelle offers the visitor a chance to experience maritime France at its very best, from harbourside cafes and bars you can watch the world go by and experience a maritime heritage that is difficult to beat anywhere in France.
Behind the inner harbour is a labyrinth of streets with stone arch covered side walks, vast squares, pretty court yards and everywhere impressive architecture.
The Town hall (hotel de Ville) is one of the most impressive buildings and a "must see" on anyone’s itinerary.
The  large park that stretch from just behind the Lantern tower on the harbour entrance all the way back past the centre of town to the outskirts helps give the town an air of serenity.

A Review of La Rochelle by Tate

Photo Gallery for La Rochelle
The inner harbour is really 3 hourbours each with a distinct flavour of their own. The main harbour just inside the Chain Towers is always bustling with activity both on and off the water with the the local cruise boats taking trips out around the nearby islands and the local water taxis ferrying passengers across the hourbour and out to the outer marina at port de minines. The middle harbour is a marina for small to middle sized yachts  a lot more quiet and peaceful.
The third harbour is the old fishing port which now houses the new aquarium, the Maritime Museum as well as many large and impressive ocean going yachts. The harbour has a lock and an impressive lifting bridge.
La Rochelle has not only great charm but an elegance that is rare in  a city of this size. The pace of life is gentle and relaxed and this rubs off on its many visiters, who by and large are happy to soak up its atmosphere, sit by the harbour and watch the world go by.
La Rochelle is not noted for its beaches but there are two,one on either side of the harbour which are much used by the locals and visiters alike.
At night La Rochelle comes alive,there are many great restaurants to eat at and the harbour and streets are alive with street artists of all kinds, there are almost two la Rochelles.
Further out of two near the coast is the Port de Minimes, said to be Frances largest marina with thousands of yachts and motorcraft of all descriptions. There are many bars and restaurants and a glorious beach which is very popular in the afternoon with the students from the nearby La Rochelle university and a very pleasant place to watch the boat toing and throwing  from the marina.
Across the river mouth is the Port to Peche (fishing port) and the large commercial port which occasionally sees cruise liners dock. In this same area are the 2nd world war U boat pens, massive structures which the french would rather not talk about and are now quite difficult to view.
From this area you can view the impressive bridge that crosses to the Ile d'Re.