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La Rochelle

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La Rochelle is a city in the province of Charente-Maritime, France.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

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. The 1B bus serves the Airport to Place de Verdun for a fare of €1.30 (paid on bus), journey takes 10-20 minutes depending on time of day.

Overlooking Old Town and Harbour

By Train[edit]

La Rochelle is linked to Paris by a high speed rail service (TGV). There are several trains a day. The shortest trip time is two and a half 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

  • From the ferry port of Caen, La Rochelle is linked by rail services with interchanges at Le Mans and Nantes.
  • From the ferry port of St Malo, La Rochelle can be reached via rail services with interchanges at Rennes and Nantes.

Get around[edit]

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

See[edit][add listing]

Towers of the Old Port

The Old Port ("Vieux Port")[edit]

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.

La Rochelle Aquarium

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 16,00 Euro for adults and 12,00 Euro for children.

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.

Do[edit][add listing]

Buy[edit][add listing]

Shopping arcades in the old town
  • Bookshops

Planète Bleue (Travel & nautical books), 54 rue Saint Nicolas, + 33 5 46 34 23 23, [1]. 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

Eat[edit][add listing]

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.

The facade of the Café de la Paix

Drink[edit][add listing]

Platter of fruits de mer

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.

Sleep[edit][add listing]

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).

  • Matthews Holidays, 0044 1483 285213, [2]. Mobile Home holidays to 4* & 5* beachside campsites throughout France. Camping Palmyre Loisirs is a campsite packed full of fun for all the family. You'll find a wonderful swimming pool complex with waterslides, tennis, table tennis, mini golf and so much more. There's even an extensive entertainment programme run throughout the summer months which all the family can get involved with.  edit

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.

Get out[edit]

  • L'Île-de-Ré connected to La Rochelle by a 2.9 kilometres bridge, this small island offers excellent beaches, great food and a cyclist's paradise
  • Luçon this picturesque city was the episcopal seat of Cardinal Richelieu and his statue stands outside of the historic cathedral. Easily reached by train from La Rochelle
  • Marais Poitevin this area criss-crossed with tiny canals is a popular resort for inland boating. Also known as Venise Verte (Green Venice)
  • Saintes is a historic town on the banks of the Charente River, in the center-eastern part of the department. The town is centred 60 km southeast of La Rochelle and easily accessed by train.
  • Châtelaillon-Plage is a seaside town located 1 train stop south of the city of La Rochelle.


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