La Rochelle is one of France's most beautiful port cities on the Bay of Biscay on the west coast of France in the Poitou-Charentes region, located between the cities of Nantes to the north and Bordeaux to the south. La Rochelle is a good base to use for visits to the Bordeaux wine country or to Cognac. Despite being relatively unknown to Americans, La Rochelle is the third most visited city in France, according to the Tourist Office.
Weather for La Rochelle and Vicinity
La Rochelle's weather is dominated by a Gulf Stream which moderates temperatures and keeps La Rochelle warm through the year. To see the current La Rochelle weather and forecast, see La Rochelle Weather Report.
La Rochelle Ville Train Transportation
La Rochelle is served by a central railway station designated La Rochelle Ville. The TGC from Paris to La Rochelle takes about three hours. There are car rental services at the station.
The Aeroport de La Rochelle serves Airlinair (Air France), Ryanair, Flybe, and Easyjet. Buses running Monday through Saturday take you to La Rochelle center.
What to do in La Rochelle
The tourism office has a downloadable PDF file of all the activities Tourists to La Rochelle might want to do, from boat trips to mini golf: La Rochelle Tourism Guide.
Top Attractions in La Rochelle
The centerpiece of La Rochelle is its heavily fortified old port, called the Vieux Port. Behind the three 14th-century stone towers is the medieval core of the city lined with shops and seafood restaurants, a good place to take your evening promenade. You can visit the towers, and according to Fortified Places, "the Tour de la Lanterne is particularly interesting for the graffiti inscribed on the walls by captured English privateers who were held there."
Within La Rochelle's historic quarter is the Hôtel de Ville (City Hall) built between 1595 and 1606 in a Renaissance style surrounded by an older defensive wall. It's open to the public
La Rochelle features a modern Aquarium which has received rave reviews from visitors.
The history of La Rochelle is connected with the sea, of course, so there's a floating Maritime Museum to visit. The Calypso, which carried Jacques Cousteau and his crew on expeditions around the world, was sunk in an accident in Singapore and was donated to the La Rochelle Musée Maritime.
Boating trips are very popular. Check the tourist office for boats to Ile de Ré, ile d’Oleron, or ile d’Aix passing Fort Boyard.
But what's best about La Rochelle? Strolling the old town, then sitting at a cafe, sipping a glass of wine, and looking out at the medieval harbor fortifications.