Daily flights to La Rochelle are available from London Stansted.
La Rochelle Airport is quite close to both La Rochelle town center and the Île de Ré. Taxis can be found immediately outside the terminal building and it will cost approximately 15 Euro to reach the town center (as of April 2008).
La Rochelle is linked to Paris by a high speed rail service (TGV). There are several trains a day. The shortest trip time is three hours. Ticket prices are greatly reduced with a youth discount card, a family discount pass or an old age pensioner's pass. The railway station (a splendid building, recently restored) is close to the town centre and a half hour walk from the Youth Hostel. Cars can be rented from agencies located opposite the station.
Rail links to ferry ports
La Rochelle can be explored by foot or by bicycle. There are some rental-bike services, called les velos jaunes, available around the town (for example there are some available at the bus station).
Buses heading towards Ile de Ré, Aytré, Plage de Châtelaillon and Port des Minimes can be taken from the Place de Verdun. A single ticket costs 1.20€ (which is valid for another transit if it is within 45 minutes). If you intend to travel a lot by bus you can buy the a 20-unit ticket for 20€, which can be used more than 20 times and can be shared by more than one person.
Moreover, if you would like to visit the nearby islands and the Fort Boyard, there are some boat and ferry services available in the Vieux Port. You can also take a boat ride from the Vieux Port straight to Port des Minimes.
Hire of vehicle with driver for your transfer in La Rochelle, the Ile de Ré areas or Cognac :melitourisme.fr.
The Old Port ("Vieux Port")
This is the oldest and also the most picturesque part of La Rochelle. Most of the town buildings are hundreds of years old and very well maintained. The narrow streets and pale stone buildings give the Old Port a distinctly mediterranean quality.
The Three Towers (Tour St. Nicolas, Tour de la Chaine & Tour de la Lanterne)
When visiting the Old Port you cannot fail to notice the the three defensive towers, which guard the harbour. They date back to medieval times when control of the city was contested by both French and English. They are well worth a visit although you will have to be in good health to climb the stairs. The staff are friendly and speak both English and French. All the signs to the various rooms and exhibits are also both in French and English. You'll also be given a returnable booklet containing lots of historical information about what is in each room. The cost of visiting each tower is 6,00 Euro (as of October 2012).
Nature fans will enjoy the huge aquarium, which can be found within easy walking distance of the harbour. The whole tour takes approximately 2-3 hours to experience and is an excellent activity if the weather outside is poor. Audio devices for various languages are available but all educational notices for each exhibit are also translated into English. The cost is 13,00 Euro for adults and 10,00 Euro for children (as of April 2008).
Port des Minimes One of the biggest ports of pleasure boats in Europe. Be prepared to be blown away by the number of yachts in this enormous port. Also, visit the beach beside the port.
Planète Bleue (Travel & nautical books), 54 rue Saint Nicolas, ☎ + 33 5 46 34 23 23, . This tiny bookshop near the Old Port specializes in books about travels, expeditions and sailing, as well as guidebooks, postcards, nautical charts and nautical decoration items. Located halfway between the train station & the city center, it provides left luggage service. There are some books in English and the owner can order more on demand edit
Seafood is the specialty in La Rochelle, and there are many excellent restaurants around the Vieux Port. Try the mussels "Charantais" in a creamy white wine and onion sauce. For a more traditional meal "A Cote de Chez Fred" offers a variety of local specialties in a comfortable atmosphere.
The Café de la Paix offers traditional brasserie dining in an elegant setting dating back to 1709. The building itself is a designated historic monument, and was a hospital before becoming a brasserie in 1793.
As an alternative, for budget travellers, some locals recommend trying some sandwichs or kebabs at "Le Rif" restaurant on the "Rue St Nicolas", not very far away from "A Coté de Chez Fred". They offer some of their specialities like Royal Rif and Royal Fajitas.
La Guignette Head to this local spot for a La Rochelle specialty, white whine mixed with fruit syrup. Open only in the early evening, this bar is a popular place for students starting a night of partying. The bar is located downtown on Rue St. Nicholas, in an excellent run down and dirty building. A lot of fun, but be careful, the sweet drink will quickly get you very drunk!
Le Général Humbert Be sure to stop by this Irish Pub on Rue St. Nicholas. A comfortable place to meet with friends, or watch some football or rugby. The owners are extremely friendly, and most of the staff speak English. Occasional live music.
La Calhute Just off of Rue St. Nicholas is this small and comfortable nightspot. Great music is always playing, and drinks are not too expensive. Try a pitcher of "Jacqueline" wine mixed with tonic and fruit syrup. It comes in many flavours, try peach or melon.
There are many hotels in and around the Vieux Port, ranging in price from affordable to decadent. Prices will be much more expensive in the summer months. The only hostel (Auberge de Jeunesse) is located near the Port des Minimes.
Besides, you can stay at Altica Hotel, situated near a university, about 15 minutes walk form the Centre Ville... It is connected regularly by bus (no 10,7 and 19). The price is quite affordable (30-40 euro per room).
PV-Holidays Residence Maeva Centre +33 1 58 21 55 84, This 2-storey residence has a indoor, heated swimming pool and lies in the heart of the town, in the "Bastion Saint Nicolas" district. It is 2.5 km from the beach and 200 m from the shops.
Holiday rentals La Rochelle, 360 ° virtual tours of homes for rent in La Rochelle. Direct contact with the owners of vacation rentals.