The Office du tourisme de La Rochelle offers a visit to the old town. You can see La Grosse Horloge (Giant Clock) which watches over the passers-by as it did over the city when it was the old port of the medieval compound. Opposite, the towers are reflected in the basin. The three towers which guard the entrance to the city date from the 14th and 15th centuries. You can also appreciate the lively quay and terraces, the colours of its market and the peacefulness of its landscaped grounds.
Dating from the XIIth to the fifteenth century, the Lantern Tower on La Rochelle's Old Port has a long history behind it. In the Middle Ages, the tower monitored and disarmed the boats entering the port, serving as a hub for keeping watch and guiding the boats with its lighthouse.
In the sixteenth century, the Lantern Tower was first used as a prison for priests, later on for Vendeans in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and for the English from the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries.
It is the oldest lighthouse on the coastline.
Flanked by the two famous towers, the Chain and the Saint-Nicolas towers, the old port of La Rochelle has been situated at the end of a narrow inlet since the 13th century . Fortified from its installation, the port has survived the destruction of the city walls and has kept its towers as monumental remains.
Built during the
14th and 15th centuries, these towers have survived the conflicts which took place within the town, particularly in 1628 . On each side of the port, the two towers face each other.
The three towers have guarded over the entrance to the old port in La Rochelle since the 12th and 15th centuries. They are the vestiges of the fortifications of the city of La Rochelle. As well as being an important lookout and lighthouse, an important navigational reference point for ships on this part of the coast, the Tour de la lanterne or Lantern Tower also served as a prison for many years. You can see the ancient graffiti that bears witness to this, a testimony to those who were incarcerated here.
The La tour de la Chaîne owes its name to the chain which ran from here to the Tour Saint-Nicolas to block off the entrance of the port. The tour Saint-Nicolas shifted during construction, leaning slightly eastwards. Once straightened, it served as a prison and royal logis. It bears witness to the city's historical power. The site is now a national monument.
During the Second World War, this Bunker built in secret in 1941, was the headquarters of the U-Boat admiral and commanders. Now this fascinating building is open to the public.
Now a real museum, the bunker gives you, via a 280m² tour, the chance to immerse yourself in the history of La Rochelle between 1939 and 1945.
The history of the bunker's construction is obviously mentioned, but also the history of the Occupation in La Rochelle and even the German requisitions.