Our favourite shopping destinations, from the Arcades in La Rochelle to the Saint-Nicolas quarter
Visiting La Rochelle without wandering through its arcades would be like going to Paris without seeing the Eiffel Tower. An icon of the town, the arcades offer you the chance to learn more about its history, but also do a bit of shopping. La Rochelle is home to many hidden gems, whether you’re looking for a chic boutique in the centre of town, or you’re a bigger fan of the bohemian style of the Saint Nicolas quarter.
The arcades of La Rochelle
Located in the centre of the town, the arcades are a vital part of La Rochelle’s heritage. These stone arches, which date from the Middle Ages, criss-cross the town between Rue Mercier and Rue du Palais. They were designed to protect traders’ stalls from inclement weather. Today they play the same role, letting you shop away from the rain or the summer sun! As you shop, you’ll have ample opportunity to admire the half-timbered gabled houses that remain to this day. Rue de l’Escale, the only street to have kept its original paving made from large, round Canadian slabs,also hides some of the most beautiful remnants of La Rochelle’s past.
A few of the chic boutiques in the centre of town
These eye-catching, picturesque boutiques under the arcades of La Rochelle are difficult to resist! With everything from fashion to furnishings and tea rooms, you won’t know where to turn, or where to put your credit card.
Here are some chic boutiques (plus a few selling locally made products) – perfect for picking up some classy souvenirs.
Extend your shopping trip to the Saint Nicolas quarter
Located just to the south of the arcades of La Rochelle, over the canal, the Saint Nicolas–quarter is a place you won’t be able to resist. You’ll feel at home straight away in its village-like vibe. The atmosphere is relaxed, and you’ll swap chic and classic boutiques for more bohemian establishments, concept stores and second-hand shops. During your wanderings, you might end up bargain hunting in an art gallery, browsing second-hand books or just having a coffee in a little sunny square.
The flea market: if you’re lucky enough to be in La Rochelle on a Thursday or Saturday, you know where you’re spending your morning – Rue Saint Nicolas. We challenge you not to unearth a bargain at this picturesque antiques and bric-a-brac market.