For me a holiday in France starts with a breakfast coffee and croissant taken at a table outside on the pavement. Unless of course it's raining or cold. So the first morning at La Rochelle, being neither, we ambled out of the hotel, along under the arches, towards the market looking for somewhere we could do exactly that.
When I was a kid, maybe 5 or 6 years old, there was a place in Southampton, next to a big department store called Mayes, where they roasted their own coffee. It's a never-ending disappointment that the drink itself never lives up to the perfume that this generates, but I guess you just have to take things on their own terms. So anyway I'm a sucker for drinking coffee where they roast it, and there was just such a place right by the market. Suitably furnished with a croissant from the nearby stall, we had our breakfast while the world went by.
Here's a couple of pics of the town of La Rochelle, around the old harbour. The two towers mark the sides of the entrance. A chain used to be hung between them at night to keep out unwanted shipping.
The other picture is a view of the town from the top of the left-hand tower (as seen when approaching the harbour). There are not many boats in the old harbour; the big (enormous) marina is outside of the main town at Les Minimes, perhaps half a kilometer before you get to the two towers, on your right.