city, Atlantic seaport and capital of Charente-Maritime departement, Poitou-Charentes region, western France, situated on an inlet opposite Re Island. The city, which has straight, regular streets, a large park, and shady promenades on the sites of its old fortifications, grew considerably after 1946, especially to the west. The old commercial harbour, too shallow for large ships, is now the centre of one of the largest yachting harbours along the French Atlantic coast, fostering important related economic activity (the design, building, and supply of boats). In 1890 a commercial port, accessible to larger vessels, was opened at La Pallice, 3.5 miles (5.5 km) west of the city; it has since been enlarged several times. Imports include fuel oil, wood products, nitrates, and phosphates, while exports (of less importance) are mainly cereals and other food products. La Pallice is a port of call for cruise ships and is the location of a specialized fishing port and its related processing activities. La Rochelle's modern industries include the manufacture of composite materials, chemicals, medical products, and railway rolling stock. The city is also an administrative, commercial, and tourist centre
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