Rivedoux is the perfect starting point for a day at La Rochelle. The bridge is toll-free for cyclists and the pistes cyclables enable a relaxed visit. No parking fee, no traffic jam. While the route along the shore is closed down for construction, the alternative is pretty okay as well.
In the banlieus of La Rochelle, architects have proved that playing with colours, with different heights and with open space and some meadows or trees beware the inhabitants of the cramped feeling ever seen so often in apartment blocks. I pass by several examples of different styles and forms and little parks in between, approaching the centre ville from the backside.
My first glance at the older parts of La Rochelle is into the market hall: unfortunately, all closed down. So much for the recommendation of best food and choice of delicacies.
Leaving the market behind, I stroll around until I get to the most touristic part: the vieux port. Famous for ancient towers and known as “white city” due to the white stone of most buildings, it usually attracts thousands of tourists. June 2021 is different: despite some foreign languages here and there, La Rochelle is far from being overrun by travelers from abroad.
In the late morning, cafés and restaurants are still empty and hence inviting for a cup of coffee or two. Stress-less sightseeing at its best!
I continue my way along the old city walls and the basin of the old port. Having read a bit about the towers and their various functions over the time, I wonder if a visit inside one or another is worth it.
Given the hilarious prices (min. 9,- EUR for the small one), I skip it and rather invest my holiday savings in a solid lunch break.
With the afternoon, darker clouds approach. I admit that the ancient La Rochelle is pretty and vivid, yet I am not the most excited city hopper and rather get back to my island of happiness.
On my way back, a lady whose age is some years ahead of mine, takes a visible effort to ride an old version of a racing bike. With my super-speedy Brompton bike Prince Harry I overtake her easily. For about three times. I may be faster, but she definitely knows some tricks and abbreviations.
Back on Île de Ré, I realize that the rain clouds decided to keep to the mainland. Best conditions for a couple of hours at the campsite’s 20m pool, finally getting me into some swim training and a bit of a teint.