From July to September, head for quai Duperré, cours des Dames, and cours des Templiers. Once the sun starts to set, this becomes one big pedestrian zone peppered with street performers. It’s a fun, almost magical area that sets the tone for the rest of the night. Your early evening should include a stop at La Guignette, 8 rue Sainte Nicolas (; tel. 05-56-41-05-75), which looks pretty much unchanged since it opened in the 1930s and has on tap la guignette, a blend of white wine, sparkling water, and syrup rarely found outside of La Rochelle (and possibly this bar).

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