Since 1970, millions of visitors have shared their emotions and
their desire to learn more about the beauties of the sea. Faithful
to René Coutant's legacy, the Aquarium allows the public to come
out to dream, learn and understand the sea.
One of the largest private Aquariums in Europe
It was created by Coutant Aquariums, the European leader in its sector.
René Coutant inspired his family's passion when, in the 1960s, he invented his first aquariums and imagined a large centre dedicated to the underwater world. His children, Roselyne and Pascal Coutant, would continue to pursue his work and dreams by building the first large aquarium in France in 1988.
They then expanded to an international scale in 2001, with an aquarium that was six times as big. The internationally renowned La Rochelle Aquarium is commonly cited as an example of a family company in which passion becomes profession.
The third generation is now working at the Aquarium, with Pascal's daughter Guenaelle Coutant managing its gift shop and restaurant. Meanwhile, Ambre and Mathieu joined the adventure eight years ago and are gradually taking over from their respective parents.
50 years of passion
1960: René Coutant builds his first aquariums with a closed-circuit filtration system.
1970: René Coutant opens a 250 m² aquarium in La Ville en Bois, La Rochelle.
1975: René Coutant passes the reins on to his children.
1988: Roselyne and Pascal Coutant inaugurate the largest aquarium in France, with a surface area of 1,600 m² and housing 550,000 litres of seawater.
Avril 1999: The Aquarium reaches the 6 million visitor mark. It is the 3rd most popular tourist attraction in Poitou-Charentes.
2001: Inauguration of the latest in large-scale European aquariums in the centre of La Rochelle, with a surface area of 8,414 m² containing 3,000,000 litres of seawater. 800,000 visitors flock here every year, making it the leading tourist attraction in Charente-Maritime and the 6th nationwide.
Février 2002: The millionth visitor comes through the Aquarium's doors.
Mai 2003: The 2 millionth visitors is celebrated in due form..
Février 2009: New spaces are opened, including a room entirely devoted to jellyfish.
Février 2010: 15 million visitors have toured the Aquarium since its creation in 1970.
Décembre 2010: « I am 10 » The Aquarium offers presents and surprises to visitors to celebrate its birthday.
Avril 2011: The aquarium baptises the boat 'La Tortue de l'Aquarium' (‘The Turtle of the Aquarium’), a 6.50m vessel which would set off on the Charente-Maritime/Bahia transatlantic race in September 2011.
2012: The Estran Room opens.
2013: The Aquarium celebrates the 20th birthday of its sawfish.
Février 2015: The various versions of the Aquarium La Rochelle over the years hit a combined total of more than 19 million visitors.
Février 2016: The "Gallery of Lights" Room opens.