The aquarium in La Rochelle is located next to the old port, not far from the famous towers: the Tour Saint Nicolas and the Tour de la Chaîne. It is worth visiting this aquarium during your holiday in France. It is also fun for children. The aquarium has a large parking lot. La Rochelle Aquarium is one of the largest private aquariums in Europe with around 800,000 visitors a year, 12,000 marine animals and more than 3 million liters of water. In total, there are over 12,000 marine animals living in 82 basins. The Aquarium specializes in rescuing sea turtles. René Coutant founded the aquarium in 1970, his children Roselyne and Pascal expanded it to what it is today. It is one of the most visited tourist attractions in La Rochelle, a city in the Poitou-Charentes region.
Sea aquarium La Rochelle
Oceans in the Aquarium
To be able to view everything properly, you will need 2 to 3 hours. Audio guides will give you all the necessary information along the way. The audio guide will take you on a trip along various world seas such as the Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea and the Caribbean Sea. You’ll get to see all the sea creatures that live in these seas from ocean to ocean and from basin to basin (82 in total!). Often with a playful and interactive approach for children. There is a lot to do and learn about marine life such as in the underwater cave.
Some of the strangest species you will encounter are the Amphiprion (clownfish), the stonefish, the angelfish, the harlequin fish and the parrot fish. There are also sharks!
La Rochelle Aquarium
- 82 aquariums
- 600 different species
- 3 million litres of seawater
- 12,000 animals
- 20 species of sharks
Special care for sea turtles
The Aquarium specializes in rescuing sea turtles. Turtles regularly wash ashore on the beaches along the Atlantic coast. The turtles are then rescued and cared for in La Rochelle Aquarium. When their health is back in order, they are released back into the Atlantic Ocean. They are brought back to the ocean at île de Ré, the island just before La Rochelle. This attracts many spectators. All of the released turtles have a chip which allows them to be tracked. On the Aquariums website you can track the released turtles and see exactly where they are in the Bay of Biscay. You can even follow their swimming route.
One of the biggest attractions of La Rochelle Aquarium is the jellyfish tunnel. The tunnel gives you a 360° view and you are surrounded by jellyfish. You can see the white, colored and bioluminescent jellyfish swimming around.
The shark basin has 1.5 million liters of water. There are terraces surrounding the basin from which you can watch the sharks safely. Children often like to stand close to the basin’s glass walls, bringing the sharks closer.
Restaurant at La Rochelle Aquarium
After you have looked around the aquarium you can have a bite to eat or a drink in restaurant "Là-Haut". You can also take a break here and rest while you are looking around. The restaurant is on the second floor and has a beautiful view over the old port of La Rochelle.
There is a nice boutique, "Mémoires d'Océans", with various types of souvenirs.
There are also strollers available at the aquarium which you can use during your visit.