The White City and a posh island. (La Rochelle and Ile De Re)

We read it was a city that "glows in coastal sunlight" but we arrived in rain so the limestone buildings looked grey rather than luminous. Not that we were disappointed, La Rochelle exceeded our expectations. The streets around the old port are beautiful: arcaded walkways, gargoyles, towers and turrets all frame the port. The cobbled side streets away from the port are pedestrianised and as is so often the case, in a tourist town, the further you 

go from the main drag the better and cheaper the food. 

We shouldn't have bothered with the aquarium, it's good but Ernie moaned because he wanted a toy, and there's a fantastic playground in the old port which he actually prรฉfรจred. 

After a mini domestic over our beyond budget accommodation (if we go back the ibis and the yachtman look good and in a good location) we followed some live music to a graffiti covered ruin, the live music, cheap beer, battered sofas and ceilidh made for a brilliant atmosphere maybe it was the laid  back vibe, or more likely the beer, but either way we were soon friends again. 

Evening strolls are picturesque as the turrets and towers are lit up, you can enjoy both from that playground as it doesn't seem to shut! 

On day two we headed to Il de Re, Unesco protected and once owned by England. I fell in love instantly with this chic island and it's shaggy haired donkeys. We went straight to Martin de Re and it's easy to see why this place is special: limestone buildings around a port, French shutters and winding streets make it quaint and chic in equal measure. It's posh but not pretentious and if you don't have your credit card for the numerous boutiques enjoy the coastal views from the walls and try to spot the WW11 bunkers or the scenes from The Longest Day, parts of it were filmed here.  Ps O parloir is good for food.