My first day in France was all the things I may have dreamed of and extra! I strive to not have expectations after I cruise, however I am positive if I did have expectations, they might have been blown away at the moment.
As I walked to the Windjammer for breakfast this morning, Anthem of the Seas was arriving in La Rochelle, a small coastal metropolis in southwestern France round two hours from Bordeaux. I’ve by no means been to France earlier than, so I could not wait to get off the ship and expertise the nation’s tradition, historical past, and delicacies.
A part of the explanation I picked this cruise itinerary was to go to lesser-known ports in Spain and France. Whereas I am positive I’d have had a tremendous day if visiting someplace like Barcelona or Good, the thought of visiting cities I had by no means heard of earlier than was intriguing.
Samantha and I acquired off the ship round 8:30 and boarded a 15-minute shuttle bus from the economic port to La Rochelle’s metropolis middle.
I instantly discovered myself in awe of the quaint cobblestone streets of La Rochelle. The city is undeniably cute, and whereas I’ve visited loads of seaside cities earlier than, wandering by means of La Rochelle virtually felt like a fairytale! It was a beautiful first impression of France.
My first cease was an area bakery for a ache au chocolat. Not a lot makes me happier than chocolate, and having fun with a chocolate croissant in an enthralling French city? Sure, please!
Fueled on sugar, it was time to get energetic and see extra of this picturesque port.
Biking La Rochelle
I am an enormous fan of renting a bicycle whereas in port because it permits you to see a lot greater than you possibly can see on foot. La Rochelle is extraordinarily bike pleasant, with car-free paths all through the town and alongside the coast.
There have been two choices for renting a bicycle. The primary was by means of the city’s public bicycle transport system. Dotted round La Rochelle are bicycle stations the place you possibly can lease a bicycle and pay as you go. I initially tried to order this selection, however had hassle receiving the SMS verification code to my American telephone quantity.
Due to this fact I went with the second possibility, a bicycle rental from Greenbike, an area store. For €11, I rented a seaside cruiser for 4 hours, and Samantha and I took off on our bicycles.
The biking was beautiful and introduced us on absolutely car-free cycle paths across the shoreline simply south of La Rochelle’s historic middle. We stopped alongside the best way for pictures and to benefit from the sunny seaside views.
After round two hours of leisurely biking and stopping at close by seashores, we made our means again to downtown La Rochelle for lunch. The city was extra vigorous within the afternoon than it had been after we first arrived.
An ode to crepes
Having by no means traveled to France, I used to be trying ahead to tasting native delicacies past the scrumptious ache au chocolat I loved earlier within the day.
When strolling round city, we got here throughout a cute alleyway lined with retailers and eating places. The unbelievable odor of savory crêpes caught our consideration when strolling the alleyway, so we instantly determined to dine at Crêperie L’epi de Blé.
I ordered the set meal, which got here with a savory crepe, beer, and chocolate dessert crepe for €14. I settled on the ratatouille crepe, which is a buckwheat crepe with a cheese and vegetable filling and topped with a fried egg.
I’ve by no means tasted something fairly like this crêpe. Actually, after years of journey by means of Europe, South America, and Southeast Asia, that is undoubtedly on my record of the most effective meals I’ve ever had. I can not cease serious about how scrumptious it was, and I’ve opened my telephone to have a look at the image I took of my crêpe at the least 20 instances at the moment.
Strolling round La Rochelle
Whereas Samantha stayed on the crêperie for an iconic afternoon of studying and sipping native rosé, I made a decision to discover extra of La Rochelle on foot.
I walked in the other way of the harbor to see what native life is like on the town. We had been in port on Sunday, so it was noticeably quiet with most retailers closed, however loads of locals had been eating outdoor and buying on the native produce market.
My impression of La Rochelle is that it’s a port the place tourism has not overtaken native life. It felt quaint and genuine even with the inflow of passengers from Anthem of the Seas. I loved the native really feel of the city versus an enormous metropolis, particularly when visiting for only some hours.
I spent the final hour or so on the town sitting by the harbor, having fun with the sunshine, and watching life go by in downtown La Rochelle.
Not a lot is best than spending time in your stateroom after a busy day in port, so we relaxed for an hour or so earlier than dinner. We had dinner within the Foremost Eating Room tonight, with the nice and cozy bananas foster a spotlight of our meal.
After a very cloudy day yesterday, I took benefit of at the moment’s sunshine with a post-dinner stroll across the pool deck. The first motive I am onboard is to movie a full ship tour of Anthem of the Seas for the Royal Caribbean Weblog YouTube Channel, so I spent some time gathering footage of the ship.
La Rochelle is the primary of three port days in a row, so Samantha and I took it simple tonight with a frozen mojito within the Solarium adopted by a sport of playing cards in our stateroom.
Tomorrow we arrive in Bilbao, Spain!
La Rochelle: Total ideas
I had an exquisite day in La Rochelle and it acquired me much more excited for the following three ports on this itinerary.
Everybody on the town was extraordinarily pleasant and welcoming. Whereas I don’t converse a lot French, each native I encountered within the historic middle spoke some English. I believe I will have to start out learning French to expertise the nation extra in-depth!
France had by no means been on the highest of my journey bucket record, and I typically discover myself touring to different European international locations like Italy and Spain. After at the moment, although, I can not imagine I waited so lengthy to expertise small-town France.
Shore excursions are positively not wanted in La Rochelle because the city is extraordinarily walkable and loads of vacationer websites (museums, a fortress, and so on ) are discovered proper within the metropolis middle. There have been additionally loads of actions for youths to take pleasure in, from a carousel to a playground, merry-go-round, bungee trampoline, and close by seashores.