La Rochelle is a city located in the southwest of France, on the Atlantic coast.Population: 74,880 inhabitants
The city center of La Rochelle, not being too big, will make it easy for you to get around by foot. However, the city has a large public transportation network to help you get around.
The “Yélo” bus that you’ll easily recognize thanks to its yellow and white color and the 29 lines that they service connect La Rochelle’s city center to the surrounding communities as well as other train stations in the region.
Place de Verdun, located in the city center, is considered to be the largest train station in La Rochelle, it is there that you’ll find many buses, servicing different lines and areas.
Useful Information :
Map of bus lines in the La Rochelle urban area: map
Other information: http://www.yelo.fr
1.30€ per trip. If you expect to take the bus often during your stay in La Rochelle, we recommend the time-based tickets: 4.50€ for 24 hours or 12.50€ for 7 days of unlimited transportation.
The city of La Rochelle is planned around its port and different basins that make it up. Also, when you find yourself on one side of the port, it is sometimes a long distance to get to the other side of the city center. The community decided to remedy the problem by creating a system of “passers”. Solar powered, small Yélo barges (completely ecological) let you connect to Vieux Port and the Ville en Bois in less than 5 minutes.
Another maritime service is also offered by Yélo: the sea bus. Also, you can get around from La Rochelle to other surrounding communities by taking the boat rather than the car or bus. So enjoy an ecological, efficient, and quick service to help you get around in the area.
Useful Information :
Since these bus and maritime systems run depending on the tides, the route times, although very close during the busy season, change quickly. Also, we recommend looking at their sitehttp://www.yelo.fr.
for the traveler, expect a 1€ fare per person or 0.85€ per person for groups (over 10 people).
For sea buses, prices are 3€ for a single fare. It is also possible to have family discounts. More information about prices: http://www.yelo.fr.
CAR (parking, taxis, and rentals)
During your stay in La Rochelle, you’ll have many solutions to get around by car.
First of all, the city has many parking lots (6 large covered lots) and parking spots (some of which are free) if you have your own vehicle. You can also take a taxi to get around the city
La Rochelle has 3 large taxi stations (at the SNCF train station, at Place Verdun, and on the Cours des Dames).
The Yélo company also offers small, electric, inner-city cars. Also, you can reserve a vehicle or simply go to the nearest station to borrow one. Be aware that you will need to have your driver’s license (valid for more than a year) and banking information.
Useful Information and Prices :
For the different parking spots and lots, more information is available on La Rochelle’s website.
More information on the different taxi companies and stations in the area can be found on the city’s web site.
For Yélo cars, more information and prices are available on their website, http://www.yelo.fr.
On nice days, bicycles seem to be the most appropriate solution to get around in La Rochelle. In fact, the city has over 90 km of bike trails in the city that offer designated touristic routes. Also you can discover the most beautiful places in the city and its surroundings.
La société Yélo propose un service de location de vélo en libre service. Vous trouverez de nombreuses bornes dans la ville mais aussi dans les communes avoisinantes. En tant que touristes, vous pourrez d'ailleurs bénéficier d'un tarif préférentiel.
For the Yélo bikes, the 150€ deposit (not steep) is required. Afterwards, the first 2 hours are free and you will pay 1.30€ for each additional hour.
Useful Information :
More information about Yélo bikes and bike paths can be found at http://www.yelo.fr.
All the prices for different Yélo services: price chart.
the city of La Rochelle is especially well serviced when it comes to railroad transportation. In fact, many TER and Intercity trains leave from the SNCF station in La Rochelle and service stations in Bordeaux, Nantes, Limoges, Saintes, and Angoulême. Additionally, daily connections between Paris Montparnasse and the train station in La Rochelle are made by the TGV trains (a 2 hour and 15 minute trip).
Useful information and prices:
More information on the La Rochelle-Ville station’s web site or on the SNCF web site.
The La Rochelle-Ile de Ré Airport is located around 10 kilometers north of the city center. Also, it is easy to get there by taxi or by bus (lines 7 or 47). This airport services few French cities but makes connections daily with international airports in Birmingham, Bristol, London, Southhampton, Manchester, Leeds, Dublin, Cork, Glasgow, Edinburg, Brussels, and Oslo, as well as weekly connections with Ajaccio, Marrakesh, Palma, Turkey, Crete, Rhodes, Tunisia, Croatia, and Senegal.
More information is available on the La Rochelle-Ile de Ré airport web site.
No matter the time of the year that you decide to organize your trip to La Rochelle, the city is lucky to enjoy a very mild climate all throughout the year. However, certain seasons are more attractive than others.
- Summer in La Rochelle: In addition to enjoying beautiful weather and Minimes beach, located two steps from the city center, you’ll have the chance to attend a good number cultural events. In fact, it is during this time of the year that the festivals flood the city and offer French and international artistic creations that attract a constantly larger audience.
Movie lovers will be glad to attend, for example, lectures and showings at the International Film Festival of La Rochelle that takes place every year for 10 days in the from the end of June to the beginning of July. Music lovers will enjoy many street performances, organized by the city during the busy season, as well as the famous Francofolies that take place every year for 5 days in mid-July. You’ll discover (or rediscover) French-speaking artists that have left their mark on culture in the previous year, as well as big names in French music or even young talents that are looking to make a name for themselves.
City Hall and the Tourism Office of La Rochelle also organize many tours in the old city to help citizens and visitors discover La Rochelle’s history. You can also enrich your knowledge of general culture and discover the port and the old city at your own pace.
- Autumn in La Rochelle: lThe city is especially visited by tourists from the beginning of June to the end of August. Also, if you want to avoid the most touristic time, it would be a good idea to go to La Rochelle at the beginning of autumn, when the weather is still nice, but vacationers have returned home. In addition to being able to better appreciate the city and avoiding the rush, you’ll be able to enjoy many cultural events. In fact, you can attend the TV Fiction Festival, or even the Jazz Festival between the Two Towers. Additionally, it is in autumn, after high tide that the port is honored. Boat enthusiasts can appreciate the Grand Pavois, which takes place every year in mid-September. This nautical show has become a real institution in the cultural life of La Rochelle.
Useful Emergency Numbers :
Fire : 18
Missing Children: 116
Yélo Company (bus, bike, and electric car rental): www.yelo.fr
La Rochelle-Ile de Ré Airport: www.larochelle.aeroport.fr/en
Museums and Touristic Sites :
La Rochelle Bunker: http://www.bunkerlarochelle.com/
Maritime Museum: http://www.museemaritimelarochelle.fr/contenu/,Accueil,131
Natural History Museum:
Musée du Nouveau Monde: http://www.alienor.org/musees/index.php?/eng/List-of-locations/La-Rochelle/New-World-Museum
Musée Rochelais d’Histoire Protestante:
La Rochelle Aquarium:
Musée des Automates et des Modèles Réduits: http://www.museeslarochelle.com/
Aquarium de La Rochelle: www.aquarium-larochelle.com/
La Rochelle Towers: http://la-rochelle.monuments-nationaux.fr/en/
Surrounding La Rochelle :
Ile de Ré: http://www.holidays-iledere.co.uk/
Ile d'Oléron: http://www.oleron-island.com/
Phare des Baleines: http://www.lepharedesbaleines.fr/
Corderie Royale and l’Hermione à Rochefort: http://www.corderie-royale.com/english/english-informations/
The prices indicated below are just for reference and include the price of one night in a standard double room and can vary depending on the season.
- Good deal: less than 50 euros. he offered services and rooms at this price are very basic and the hotels can be a bit out of the way.
- Basic: between 50 and 80 euros. You’ll find beautiful apartment-hotels and small, comfortable hotels in the city center.
- Classy: between 80 and 130 euros. You’ll stay in quality establishments whose rooms often have beautiful views, sporty amenities (pool, recreation room, etc.) and a good location.
- Very classy: starting at 130 euros. La Rochelle isn’t an especially expensive city and for a bit more than 100 euros, you can have a night in a beautiful establishment with 3, 4, or maybe even 5 stars.
The prices indicated below are just for reference and include the price of a dish/meal for one person.
For a snack - 5 to 15 euros:
Ice cream from Ernest has quickly become an essential for every stay in La Rochelle. Discover the 50 flavors, some more original than others, offered by this renowned ice cream maker. During the busy season, be ready to suffer through the lines, but the effort is worth it and for a relatively reasonable price (4.80 euros for an enormous scoop of ice cream in a cone).
For a relaxing break in an intimate atmosphere, we recommend Le Jardin, a beautiful tea salon that also offers salads and toasts. In the back of the main space, discover a small paved courtyard where you can enjoy your dish in the shade.
For a meal – 15 to 30 euros:
For those whole love fish and seafood, we recommend Le Cabanon des Pêcheurs, a traditional restaurant in an inviting setting and a family atmosphere.
Enjoy your visit at the La Rochelle Aquarium to stop by its café. The Café de l'Aquarium poffers refined dishes that you’ll be served in a large room with a panoramic view over the old city port. A stop that is worth the detour!
Gourmet Restaurants – 30 to 60 euros:
To try regional cuisine in a gourmet bistro, go to Lopain'Kess,where you can try typical dishes from the southwest, prepared daily by the chef.
Near one of Vieux Port’s towers, you’ll discover Les Flots,a very lovely, gourmet restaurant that offers unique dishes prepared with fresh products.
Starred Restaurants – starting at 60 euros per person:
You’ll enjoy the Hôtel Trianon’s restaurant eand try gourmet and refined dishes, all prepared with the freshest products. You’ll also appreciate the elegant atmosphere in the dining room.For seafood and fish dishes revisited by starred chefs, go to Richard & Christopher Coutanceau's restaurantthat welcomes you into an exceptional setting in the heart of the city. This establishment is very popular among connoisseurs and has been awarded many times for its creativity.
La Rochelle Proper:
La Rochelle’s Vieux Port and Towers: La Rochelle is a city full of history. It is enough to just walk through the city’s alleys to realize it. The city hall and tourism office regularly offer historical guided tours to learn a bit more about this lovely city in Poitou-Charentes. La Rochelle’s Two Towers are undoubtedly the city’s most emblematic monuments and you can also visit them during your stay.
La Rochelle Aquarium: With its 12,000 marine specimens, the La Rochelle Aquarium is undoubtedly one of the most impressive in Europe. Renewed and entirely renovated around 10 years ago, this establishment will welcome you in an exceptional decor. You’ll be impressed by the large shark aquarium as well as the 360° that will let you make your way through the most beautiful jellyfish from the depths of the sea.
La Rochelle Bunker: Dedicated to the Second World War, this museum welcomes you into a bunker that served as the headquarters of the admiral and his U-boats. The bunker was constructed, in utter secrecy, in the heart of the city now opens its doors to all curious visitors.
Maritime Museum: On the docks of La Rochelle’s port, discover the Maritime Museum, a gigantic installation that will allow you to discover the most beautiful ships in the port as well as temporary exhibits related to the marine world.
Outside La Rochelle:
Corderie Royale: and the site of the Hermione: located 30km south of La Rochelle, it is at Rochefort that you can visit the historic Corderie Royale that was, for many centuries, an institution for French maritime life. You can visit the permanent exhibit and discover the temporary ones, all related to marine life and the Atlantic Ocean of course!
Since 1997, the site of the Corderie Royale housed the site of the Hermione, a 65 meter long wooden ship, reconstructed according to 18th century techniques. The boat was finished in 2013 and was displayed at Bordeaux, but returned to Rochefort in 2014 before starting a crossing over to the United States. Learn more about it before going to be sure to find this jewel of the French fleet
Cité de l’Huître Discover one of the regional culinary specialties in its natural setting! The Cité de l’Huître is open from the beginning of April to mid-November ant thanks to many events and workshops, you can know more about the culture around the oyster and take part in tastings.
Fort Boyard: Embark on a unforgettable cruise along the Atlantic coast and discover its magnificent landscapes as well as its famous lighthouses and other wellknown buildings like the legendary Fort Boyard! You won’t be able to get to the fort since it is never open to the public, but the cruise allows you to admire it from all angles.
Île de Ré: This island is located around 20 km to the west of La Rochelle. You can enjoy shady hiking paths, as well as many bike paths (they almost only get around by bike on the island!) to discover typical landscapes for the Poitou-Charentes region. The beaches are also especially pleasant during summer.
Île d’Oléron: located 70 km to the south of La Rochelle, this 30 km long island is accessible from the highway, by boat, but also by bus from La Rochelle. On this beautiful island you’ll find a typical setting for the region, many shops and small traditional restaurants, and you can also enjoy its many beaches.
*This travel guide was published in November 2014, prices may then vary.