Fruits de la mer – Port Neuf, La Rochelle, France

One of the favourite seafood memories of Kevin and his daughter Alex was a mammoth cake stand full of seafood consumed when we were in La Rochelle in 2008. Therefore today was dedicated to repeating the experience, based on the length of the walk, it was easier to plan this for lunch. We took some advice from Lonely Planet on the options and headed in on our almost three mile walk into town along the immaculate and newly constructed promenade, via a very handy little lake for dog runs.

Today was sadly rather grey with rain forecast. However we managed to make it all the way in without getting wet and found a delicious espresso before locating our favoured restaurant. We scoped out Le Panier des Crabes, recommended by Lonely Planet, apparently run by a local seafarer. However, as all the seating was outdoors under a tree and rain was forecast we moved on. The famous André restaurant we remembered from our 2008 visits with its pavement side seafood display / preparation area. Since we had last visited they had expanded into several neighbouring shops, however, the seafood platter on the menu was not as good as the restaurant we visited the day before which was 2 doors away. So we returned for Kevin to try the platters he had seen being served the day before.

The platter containing periwinkles, whelks, prawns, langoustines, half a crab, oysters, grey shrimps, clams was gradually devoured in the time it look me to eat a three course meal. The result was declared just as good as he had remembered, in fact the whelks were much nicer than recalled.

After lunch we were under advice from our friend David Russell, a regular La Rochelle visitor, to visit a nearby rugby bar. We quickly located the La Renommée bar by the fibreglass Marilyn Munroe at the door complete with wind blown skirt. The landlady Christelle remembered David well and made us welcome. The bar was decorated with all things related to La Rochelais rugby team, including many photos of Christelle with members of the team, past and present. She was, as David had mentioned, a big rugby fan. There were a number of locals watching horse racing and laying bets at a dedicated machine like a jukebox in the bar area. One patron won over €150 which was paid out from another machine behind the bar.

Meeting Christelle at La Renommée

Christelle was quite the hostess and was soon sharing a bottle of champagne with another group of locals arriving. By now, I had both dogs on my lap on the tall barstool, an act of some balancing skill, based on Lola’s current status of being in season and Christelle’s dog walking loose around the bar who was in amorous pursuit of her smell! After a couple of drinks we decided to head on and stop tormenting the poor dog.

View from the ladies loo at La Renommée

We walked back just making it back before the rain another 20,000 step / 9 mile plus walking day. We relaxed with a book listening to the rain on the roof.

Resistance Monument on the seafront

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