is a city of western France
, and a seaport
on the Atlantic Ocean
. It is the préfecture
(capital) of the Charente-Maritime département
The city is connected to the Île de Ré (island) by a 2.9 km bridge, completed in 1988.
The Calypso, the ship used by Jacques-Yves Cousteau as a mobile laboratory for oceanography, and which was sunk after a collision in the port of Singapore (1996) is now displayed at the Maritime Museum of La Rochelle.
In the 16th century, the city was a Huguenot stronghold under King Henri of Navarre.