La Rochelle is the capital of the Charente-Maritime department.
It is the most populated municipality of the department of the Charente-Maritime, located by the Atlantic Ocean, and is protected from storms by the "barrier" islands of Ré, Oléron and Aix, the city is primarily a port complex dating from the twelh century. It retains its title of ocean port by the presence of its three ports, for fishing, commerce, and pleasure.