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Tourist Sites in and around La Rochelle

Tourist sites and attractions within a radius of km* from the city center

* The distances are point to point and not driving distances!

At around: 0.25 km

Saint Nicolas Tower Saint Nicolas tower is the most important of the 3 medieval towers of La Rochelle. A 42 m high structure it was built in 1372 after the region was taken back from English during the Hundred Years' War.
The tower symbolises the sovereignty of the town and was used together with the Chain Tower (La Tour de la Chaine) to stop via a ...chain the entrance of the ships in the old port of La Rochell during the night. The inside of the tower consists of a maze of military facilities and a nice royal residence....

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At around: 0.32 km

La Rochelle City Churches The old part of La Rochelle has 3 big churches: Saint-Sauveur, the Cathedral of Saint Louis and the Protestant Temple.
Saint Sauveur church as we see it now was built in the first part of the 18th century on the place of a Romanesque church built in the 12th century but destroyed during the war of religions in 1568. So attached was La Rochelle to its seafaring life that ship miniatures are hanging on the walls of the church.
The biggest of the three churches is Saint Louis Cathedral. As in the case of Saint-Sauveur the existent church was built on the place the old parish of Saint Bartholomew destroyed in 1568 as well. Only the bell tower from this previous...

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At around: 0.32 km

Maison Henri II The "Henri II House" - Maison Henri II - was built in the middle of the 15-th century, for Hugues Pontard, public prosecutor of the region during the reign of Henri II de Valois.
The appeal of this edifice consists not only in its beauty: Doric style columns on the first level and Ionic style columns on the second level as well as beautifully surrounded skylights, but also in the fact that it is not ... a house! It is just a wonderfully decorated passage between the stairs on the left to the tower on right side!...

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At around: 0.36 km

La Tour de la Lanterne - The Flashlight Tower The « Flashlight » tower was built in the 15th century. It is the oldest medieval lighthouse on the Atlantic coast. It has a glass top where each night a big candle was light for guiding the ships.
In the 17th century it was converted to a prison and its interior walls are covered in graffiti. The tower is connected via the old rampart with the Chain tower.
The Chain tower that was built in the 14th century and was used together with the Saint Nicolas tower to prevented the access of the ships in the port during the night by using literally a chain attached to both towers....

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At around: 16.24 km

Aix Island The little island of Aix -129 hectares - is interesting not only because of its Vauban fortification but also because it is the island where the time stopped at 5:49 am, May 5 1821.
It is the moment when in the far away Saint Helena island in the Atlantic the former Emperor Napoleon I dies and all the clocks of his last residence on the French soil are stopped.
Indeed after the battle of Waterloo the victorious English decide to exile Napoleon in a distant place for the fear of his coming back.
He arrives on the Island of Aix in July 1815 and after spending 4 nights in the house of the governor, a house that is now...

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UNESCO Heritage List At around: 17.25 km

Fortified City of Saint Martin de Re Surrounded by Vauban fortifications and thus recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site St. Martin de Re is one of the most beautiful towns on the Atlantic coast of France and the biggest town in the Island of Re.
It is a fortified town surrounded by more then 14 km of ramparts. The star shaped fortification was built in 1681 - in only 40 days- on the ruins of an old fort built during the reign of Lois XIII.
The purpose of the structure was the protection of the military port of Rochefort, of the commercial port of La Rochelle and the salt trade of the island of Re. The fortification is a beautiful example of Vauban's work...

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UNESCO Heritage List At around: 19.6 km

Fort Vauban Fouras The fort is located on the site of a former roman stronghold.
Throughout the centuries it knew many changes - the tower was rebuilt between 1480 and 1490 by Jehan de Brosse, chambellan to king Charles VII of France - but the establishment of the arsenal of Rochefort in 1666 makes it a centerpiece of the defense system of the Charente estuary.
From 1689 to 1693, Francis Ferry, engineer of King Louis XIV, works under the leadership of Vauban - then General Commissar of Fortifications - to adapt the medieval ramparts to the new needs and military techniques and by increasing the thickness of the interior walls he creates at 36 m above the sea, a platform...

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At around: 23.2 km

Salty Marchlands While not a historic site the salty marchlands of Ile de Re are nonetheless a remarcable attraction of the island.
You can visit at your own pace the various salty marchlands that cover a big part of the westen part of the island or you can visit the Salt Ecomuseum where you can learn the history and the techniques of salt extraction from the salty water of the marches. If you are a bird watching lover visit the "Lilleau des Niges" natural reserve home of numerous species specific to marchlands and place of rest for many migratory birds....

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At around: 24.16 km

Fort Lupin Fort Lupin is a small defensive structure whose construction - between 1683 and 1686 - was led by Vauban.
It was built on the south bank of the estuary of the Charente to protect access to the arsenal of Rochefort. The fort consists of a semi-circular battery for use against ships, a central tower and a front including a water trench to protect the landward side.
It is located near the little town of Saint-Nazaire-sur-Charente. It is a private property and can be visited inside only during « Les journees du patrimoine » a cultural event that takes place each year on the third weekend of September. However it can be visited from outside the walls following the path along the...

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At around: 28.41 km

Ars en Re Ars en Re is another beautiful little town of the island of Re. It is situated on the south side of the Fier d'Ars bay.
The town and its surroundings are dominated by the bell tower of the Saint Etienne d'Ars Church, a 40m tall structure that rests on a square platform, platform surrounded by a cornice and flanked by 4 turrets oriented on the 4 cardinal points.
The church was built in gothic style the 15th century on the site of a former 7th century one. The bell tower slightly tilted since a thunder struck it in 1840 is painted in black and white and served as a mark for the ships sailing in the nearby...

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At around: 28.73 km

The Arsenal The history of the biggest ship yard (l'arsenal in French) in the kingdom of Louis XIV begins in 1661.
It is the year when the rising star in the king's government Jean-Baptiste Colbert suggest to the young king the building of a great navy commensurate with the great kingdom.
A powerfull navy needs a big ship yard. In 1665 the decision is taken to built the arsenal in Rochefort region - the town did not exist but owes its existence to the ship yard - the fief of the ...cousin of Jean-Baptiste named Colbert de Terron, who is put in charge with what would be called today the purchasing department of the entreprise!
The arsenal project is handed to the...

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UNESCO Heritage List At around: 30.42 km

Oleron Citadel The building of the citadel started in 1630 during the reign of King Louis XIII. Later during Louis XIV in 1666 when the decision was made to build the biggest ship yard of the kingdom in Rochefort the need came to reinforce its protection and therefore the need to reinforce the citadel. This task was handed first to Louis Nicolas de Clerville - a famous fortification engineer of the time mostly known under the name of Chevalier de Clerville. When in 1677 Clerville died the project was taken over by Vauban. Vauban had different ideas from Clerville and his project of reinforcement of the citadel included some distruction of the work - the second enceinte of the citadel - of...
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At around: 30.99 km

Phares des Baleines (Lighthouse of the Whales) The lighthouses located next to each other are situated on the most western point of the island of Re (Ile de Re).
The old Lighthouse of the Whales - a 30 meters high structure- was built by Vauban in 1682 and was in service until 1854 when the new lighthouse was built. It is the second oldest lighthouse of France after the one of Cordouan in the Gironde estuary.
The new lighthouse has 57meters in height.
The top can be reached after a 257 steps ascent but the effort is worthwhile since the panorama - the island and the ocean - that opens in front of your eyes is an exceptional one.
For information about all the lighthouses that can...

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UNESCO Heritage List At around: 34.18 km

Fort Louvois Situated now at the foot of the bridge that links Oleron Island with the continent Fort Louvois is the last fort built during the reign of King Louis XIV.
This horse shoe shaped fort is an island accessible by a free shuttle boat during the high tide and by foot during low tide - a 400m paved pathway links it to the continent. The summit of the tower offers an incredible panorama of the bay of Marennes.
The construction of the fort was ordered in 1690 for the protection from the South side of the arsenal of Rochefort. The name Louvois comes from the name of Marquis of Louvois the war minister of the King Sun, and who contracted...

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UNESCO Heritage List At around: 34.73 km

Royal Citadel of Brouage The first name of the citadel was "Jacopolis" after the name of its founder Jacques de Pons, Earl of Hiers, who built it in 1555. At the time of its birth the citadel was an ocean port, in one of the most beautiful harbours of France.
A rich and prosperous port, with more then 4000 inhabitants (as opposed to 150 today!), the town was attached to the Crown by King Henri III under the new name of Brouage. During the reign of King Louis XIII, Cardinal Richelieu became the governor of the place and used it as a Catholic base to keep under control the mainly Huguenot region. Later under King Louis XIV the town is transformed into a military...

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Grand Site de France At around: 40.3 km

Marais Poitevin Marais Poitevin - the Poitevin Marchlands - occupies around 110,000 ha between the Vandée fields in the north, the town of Niort in the east , the former historic region of Aunis in the south, and the Atlantic Ocean on the west.
The marchlands region is listed as a "Grand Site de France" and it is also known as the "Green Venice".
Thousands of years ago the whole place of the nowadays Marais Poitevin was occupied by the Atlantic Ocean that was forming a big bay scattered with limestone islands. In time the bay did naturally fill with marine sediments, mainly clay particles origination from the Gironde and Loire estuaries brought here by ocean currents. Nowadays there are only around 5,000 ha...

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