Today was the hubs birthday, so the birthday boy gets to call the shots.
So, after the previous day’s lacklustre breakfast, we vowed to visit the amazing bakery just through the arch off the marina front.
2 excellent coffees, 2 huge pastries and a freshly squeezed juice €6 each
This place is fab, great selection of sandwiches and salads too, so would be a great place to visit before heading off exploring or on a boat trip.
Then, after a chance spotting of a calendar in a gift shop, showing images of Fort Boyard, then a boat in the harbour of the same name, we figured it must be relatively close by off the coast. There is a ticket booth just by the side of the marina, and trips ran steadily throughout the day. We opted for the large, modern catamaran style boats, and the cost of the trip was around €20 each, and took around 2 hours.
Here’s a tip, it was a scorching hot day and we were one of the last to board, so the open upper deck was busy. On a central seat, I ended up with photography mad tourist, lunging about with one foot on the seat, with his arse an inch from my face, plus it was too blooming hot in the sun. So, head downstairs into what will probably be an empty air conditioned saloon. There are 2 booths towards the rear with opening windows, bag one of these (left side is better), travel in comfort, and get a great view of Fort Boyard on that side as the boat circles. This boat also acts as a ferry to Isle d’Aix, which looks gorgeous, the majority of tourists will get off, then you can travel back to harbour on a much less crowded upper deck. Perfect.
Also, seems to be dog friendly, was a little pug enjoying the view, so good to know.
Fort Boyard was a gameshow that ran in the U.K. in the nineties, and is still running in France (repeats at least). It was syndicated to multiple countries and in multiple languages, over 1700 episodes were made. More fascinatingly, have a read about it’s history on-line, there’s a lot of it! It should have been used to strengthen sea defences, but due to political red tape and the weather, it took 50 years to build, by which time warfare had advanced to such a degree, it was obsolete before it could be commissioned. It was once used as a military prison, which must have been terrifying.
After our boat trip, we headed off to the Maritime Museum for lunch. Now, we’re not proud of this, but we had read about the floating restaurant and bar of the museum, and we were both super hungry, so with the best of intentions, vowed to eat first, and museum later. Reality was, we paid €7 just to eat lunch and drink a bottle of rose, the museum didn’t get done. I am ashamed of this slightly, but blaming the birthday boy entirely. (Keep your aquarium ticket btw, you get a small discount).
You can visit for free after 6.30pm, and it seems to be a bit of a hidden gem. Dog friendly as well, a little Chihuahua was enjoying some lunch with his owner. The giant prawns and aioli were delish too. A great birthday lunch venue.
We then headed back to our favourite spot at la Belle Gabut for the last time. Love it! We sat and chatted, music was really great again, and the time flew.
We spied a rum bar, that was serving amazing looking Tiki style cocktails the previous night, and vowed to try it out.
Via Brazil, was great fun, but Jesus, those cocktails would anaesthetise a horse! Mine arrived in a skull, with a key ring you could keep. Hub’s was bright blue, and a proper Del-boy drink, complete with flashing fibre-optic orchid, that did end up clipped to his beard at one point…… we only had one. I think we would have needed paramedics if we’d had 2.
By the time we arrived, a few doors down at La Bella Donna for pizza, I’d had quite enough to drink thankyou. Just the water for me.
We sat right on the street, and the place was very pretty, with chandeliers and twinkly lights everywhere. Pizza was pretty good too.
And there endeth, our jam-packed 48 hours in La Rochelle, hope you enjoyed it.
Cognac, Bordeaux, and Sarlat-La-Caneda coming soon. X