Friday Heirloom 89: Aquarium La Rochelle, France

Friday Heirloom 89: Aquarium La Rochelle, France

Check out the Highlights of February here

“La Mer n’est pas une poubelle.”

We should all be aware of the fragility of the environment, and feel the urge to preserve it. 

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Cover Photo: Tropical Forest at the Aquarium of La Rochelle 

Arriving to La Rochelle train station on a Monday morning in mid-February can seem quite a solitary experience, not only for the quietness of this part of town but also for the mood you get as soon as you start walking from it. Blue.

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But then, 5 minutes in, you’re in the center of the city where, facing the Old Port, is located one of the largest private European Aquariums: the Aquarium La Rochelle, a unique journey to dream and understand the Sea, as they put it.

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As I entered the Aquarium, some of the friendliest staff greeted me and gave me directions and an audioguide in French. I arrived to the jellyfish corridor and from there I spent about 2 hours wandering through the heart of the oceans, making friends with some of the most amazing sea creatures.

Here are a few photos from the “Atlantic” section:

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La “Dorade Royale” or Gilt Head Bream

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The Marbled Ray. SO CUTE!

More than 12.000 marine animals populate the Aquarium, and I was stunned by their variety in sizes, colours and shapes. It had been a long time since my last visit to an Aquarium: I believe it was the Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, about 3 years ago.

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The Anemone, which belongs to the same family as Coral & Jellyfish

With 800.000 visitors a year, the Aquarium of La Rochelle has a big and bold mission: letting visitors dream and understand the sea. Now it’s been a reality for 30 years.

In addition, its daily commitment can be measured through “The sea is not a rubbish bin” campaign, which was launched more than 15 years ago and now is mother to all of the Aquarium’s awareness-raising actions.

(The Aquarium also develops educational activities for the schools in the community in order to raise young people’s awareness: 25 workshops are put in place each year).

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Through what is called Homochromy, these flat fish blend in with the environment to escape predators

As I walked through the “Atlantic”, I arrived to the Mediterranean area. Here’s one last shot before continuing… Say Hi to Sardines and Allis Shad.

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About the Mediterranean: so familiar, yet so new through these lenses. Here’s a photo of a few varieties of fish that can be found in the Mediterranean: Snipefish and Boarfish.

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Then I arrived to “Oceania”, with Guitarfish and Barracuda. I could also learn about and analyze Jellyfish and other microscopic sea creatures.

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Through an interactive corridor, which quite frankly put me in a “millennial mood”, I arrived to the next section: the Caribbeans.

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This was my favorite part of the Aquarium, not only for the disposition of the aquariums but also for the colors and the variety of sea creatures. In this shot, please admire a few Blue Tangs.

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These are called, instead, Scorpions of the Sea (Lionfish):

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Then, after walking through the Indo-Pacific, I went off to visit the sharks (and turtles):

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I also stopped by the Auditorium to learn more about these stunning creatures (before entering the Galerie des Lumières: did you know that sea and light are strictly interconnected?):

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The last stop was the Tropical Forest, another great part of the Aquarium (mind it, it’s WARM in there!)

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I was charmed by the Tropical Orchid

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Red-bellied Piranha, which can be found in the Amazon river

Then, off to the shop and the café, where I took some time to learn more about the structure, facilities and offerings of the Aquarium La Rochelle.

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I spent a great morning at the Aquarium La Rochelle. Thank you to Mélanie and the whole staff for having me! If you’d like to know more, please check out the website of the Aquarium.

You can also consult the Encyclopedia of the Species here

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