A Long Week-End in La Rochelle

Posted on 08. Jun, 2011 by in Destinations, Europe Travel, France

While there are many things I would happily whine about in France, holidays are certainly not one of them - they get over 10 public holidays per year (plus the mandatory 5 weeks of vacation), which pretty much makes the North-American workaholic in me go on a travel frenzy… Ideal for a long weekend in La Rochelle!

After 5 hours on the road,  I had no other choice than get to the closest pit stop and give my legs some fuel for exploration. Quai du Gabut is where I ended up, a lovely marina street filled with wooden terraces and seafood restaurants - albeit a bit touristy, but with such an amazing setting, it’s only normal that visitors would want to eat there. That was only the beginning of my food odyssey in La Rochelle - absolutely everything we ordered during the week-end was delicious!

food in la rochelle

Salmon tartare in La Rochelle

I explored the surroundings of the port and walked by the famous arcade streets and the impressive Courts of Justice, as well as some lovely residential and sea-themed decorated streets. Not too far from the Pont de la Grosse Horloge, I was pleasantly surprised to discover a local favorite hangout, called Académie de la bière, on Cour du Temple Street, and immediately indulged my ale call. I ordered a delicious Belgian beer, the Mort Subite (which means “sudden death”) and it is definitely not as tragic as it sounds - it’s actually quite tasty, with a strong raspberry flavor and a reddish hue. Can’t take away the girlishness, now can I?

Even though a day off is a good enough reason to plan a long week-end in La Rochelle, I had a hidden agenda - the main reason why I wanted to visit La Rochelle so badly is because I knew my French ancestors (for those who didn’t know, I’m French-Canadian) used to live in the Charente-Maritime region before they left for the Americas in the 17th century. I was estatic to learn more about the history behind my ancestors, their family and their job at the Tour du Chaînon, which was built in the 14th century as part of the city’s fortifications, and is now a museum on the 17th migration to Nouvelle-France. After a little bit of research, I found out that my ancestors came from Segonzac, about an hour east of La Rochelle. Needless to say I added the village to my bucket list!

A great idea to nicely wrap up your long weekend in La Rochelle is to make a daytrip to the beautiful, beautiful Ile-de-Ré. It’s absolutely perfect and in all honesty, I would have probably spent more time on the island rather than in the city had I known it was so pretty.

Have you ever spent a long weekend in La Rochelle or its surroundings? Do you also have ancestors from Charentes-Maritime?

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3 Responses to “A Long Week-End in La Rochelle”

  1. Katherina

    08. Jun, 2011

    The food looks delicious!! I’m sure I could spend hours and hours wandering from one restaurant to the other in this city!

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  2. Discovering Vallières village in France - my village! - September 22, 2011

    [...] from French descent, I knew there would be some sign of my ancestors somewhere in France. During my trip to La Rochelle, I made some research and learned that my Vallières ancestors left the Charentes region to [...]

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