La Rochelle is a city in southwestern France and a seaport on the Bay of Biscay, a part of the Atlantic Ocean. It is the capital of the Charente-Maritime department.
The Knights Templar had a strong presence in La Rochelle since before the time of Eleanor of Aquitaine, who exempted them from duties and gave them mills in her 1139 Charter. La Rochelle was for the Templars their largest base on the Atlantic Ocean, and where they stationned their main fleet. From La Rochelle, they were able to act as intermediaries in trade between England and the Mediterranean.