The entrance to La Rochelle sets the tone for the day ahead. Upon arrival towards the cruise terminal, passengers will witness the dramatic twin towers of St Nicholas Fort and the Tour de la Chaine as ships pass between the two towers before berthing at the port of La Rochelle. The towers were named after the chain that was once drawn across the entrance to the harbour, which was designed to keep intruders out, especially throughout the night.
La Rochelle welcomes cruise passengers to its medieval shores and the city centre lies an approximate ten minute journey away from the port. The architecture here is fantastic and combines an intriguing collection of historic buildings with many modern designs. The preservation of the historic buildings here is outstanding with many structures standing an incredible test of time. Several major constructions have been restored and the city portrays a beautiful sight as you arrive from the cruise port.
The focus here is, however, not just on the historical heritage. The modern day metropolis of La Rochelle shines through in the heart of the many delightful bars and restaurants for a taste of the sublime local cuisine. The taste bud tingling continues with a trip to the small town of Cognac for a sample of the world famous Courvoisier and Martell cellars. Cognac is the birthplace of the world renowned brandy and a visit here offers guests the opportunity for an excellent insight into the world of the Cognac ‘Hennessy‘Cellars and stores. The tour gives detailed insight into the notorious distillery processes and precision guidelines for how to recognise the essence of a good cognac.
There are numerous ways of exploring this charming city. Many cruise lines offer a great selection of excursion opportunities here, most intimate of all being the chance to enjoy a horse drawn carriage ride through the centre. The quaint streets and minimalist arcades provide the perfect setting for this type of tour but this excursion is often extremely popular so be sure to book early.
There are many parks and gardens throughout the city, which heightens the atmosphere and creates a genuine contrast from the otherwise structurally based centre. The parklands here provide a great place to relax, unwind and watch the world go by. One of the most beautiful areas of all is the impeccable Jardins du Mail.
La Rochelle is a magnificent port of call to visit aboard a cruise break or heading into the charms of the Mediterranean. This delightfully quaint city boasts an exquisite array of historical pleasures along with its attractive surrounding areas for further afield exploration.