Reflecting its long and prosperous maritime history, La Rochelle’s heart and soul can be found at the Vieux Port (old port), guarded by two medieval fortress style towers. La Rochelle is home to an amazing number of architectural gems. When you arrive by Ouibus in the capital of the historical province of the Aunis, take the time to get a feel for the Quai Duperré before exploring the old town, passing through the impressive gateway of the Grosse Horloge (the clocktower). Lose yourself in the paved streets of the Saint-Sauveur district, wandering between the former homes of shipowners and the pretty arcades which shelter rows of shops. This ancient district of the town is a joy to explore: around every corner you’ll stumble across small public squares with restaurant and cafe tables outside, making the most of the sunshine and warm evenings. In the morning, the market is worth a detour; you’ll find it a glorious melee of colours and scents. In this quiet car-free district, the church and cloister and the Chapelle des Dames Blanches and the city hall are all worth seeing. Those on a quest for authenticity will enjoy the fishing village feel of the district of Saint-Nicolas. This area is popular with artists and antique hunters. On Saturdays, the Place de la Solette hosts stalls selling second hand books, antiques and bric-a-brac. In the evening, head over to the Saint-Jean du Pérot district where you’ll find plenty of restaurants offering fresh, locally caught fish, often spiced with flavours from all around the world. And if you haven’t had your fill, Ouibus will gladly take you back to La Rochelle to sample more of its charmingly pleasant way of life by the sea.