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La Rochelle grows by its ports
From the little fishing port in year 1000 to the new Marina of Les Minimes, built in 1970, the Atlantic Ocean took an important place in the extension of the town.
12th century First fishing port in La Rochelle on the shore of the river “Lafond”, close to the Vauclerc castle (now "Verdun place").
13th and 14th Century Digging of a commercial harbour (actual Old Harbour) in response to to the commercial expansion (salt and wine trade). Until 1307, the biggest Templars Harbour in Europe. Construction of the three towers (Saint Nicolas, tour de la Chaîne and tour de la Lanterne), to keep hostile warships from attacking La Rochelle. The oldest tower, Saint Nicolas, was built between 1371 and 1382.
17th Century 1627 : became an important commercial port and also one of the most combative towns of the Protestant religion, La Rochelle was under siege by the royal French army and its chief : Cardinal de Richelieu. In 1628, the Mayor Jean Guiton, surrended.
Beginning of 19th Century Digging of a new basin near the Old Harbour. Creation & expansion of activities in the quarter of “le Gabut”. Mid. 19th Century : Digging of another wet basin for the biggest fishing steamboats. Just out of and around the Old Harbour : all around, in the quarter of “La ville en Bois”. New companies arrived and settled down. End of 19th Century 1860 : birth of “Société des Régates Rochelaises” (local oldest yachtclub). 1890 : building of a new, modern commercial harbor in deep water on the north shore of the town (La Pallice).
20th Century Yachting grows up in the sixties. The concepts of “sail for pleasure” and “yachting for all” helped to the creation of a big marina in “Les Minimes” in 1970. At the same time, the town expands.
1968 First plan of a new marina project : “Richelieu port”
1970 Beginning of construction of the two dykes : Lazaret and Bout-Blanc.
1972 First pontoons and first yachts. Creation of “Régie du Port de Plaisance de La Rochelle”.
1978 Construction of the central mole – Installation of nautical activities. 1993 New fishing port close to the commercial harbour of La Pallice. The “Port de plaisance de La Rochelle” (yachting port) now manages the 3 basins of the Old Port
Objective 2014 : near 5 000 berths !