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How To Reach La Rochelle
One of France’s most significant port cities between the 14th and 17th-centuries, La Rochelle is the capital of the Charente-Maritime department and is located on the Bay of Biscay in the Atlantic Ocean. Popularly referred to as ‘La Ville Blanche’ or the ‘White City’, La Rochelle is a town that from a distance, appears to glow in the sun because of the radiant limestone façade of its buildings.
It is a city that long upheld its Huguenot Protestant identity and refused to lay down its arms without a fighting chance. It is a city that maintains its age-old heritage and displays it with panache in its ancient towers, narrow cobblestone streets and timeless half-timbered houses that define La Rochelle’s landscape. It is a city that has made remarkable progress in its economic growth, evidence of which can be seen in its many faces. It is a city that warrants at least one trip in a lifetime; whether you’re new to the world of travel or a weathered voyager. Here are some of the most convenient ways to reach La Rochelle.
The La Rochelle-Íle de Ré Airport is the city’s international airport that also serves the adjoining island Íle de Ré. Daily flights are operated to La Rochelle from London, Paris, Lyon, Birmingham, among other European cities; weekly flights make connections to cities like Turkey, Tunisia, Croatia etc. Travelling from India usually involves a connecting flight with stopovers at any one or two of the destinations mentioned above, followed by a subsequent flight to La Rochelle. The airport is located within a few kilometres from the city centre, which is easily accessible via buses and taxis available at the airport.
La Rochelle’s main railway station is Gare de La Rochelle, which is located less than a kilometre from the city centre. The high-speed TGV rail network connects La Rochelle to Paris, Bordeaux and Nantes; covering the journey in 2 hours from Bordeaux and 3 hours from Paris and Nantes each. The SNCF station in La Rochelle serves many other European destinations through Intercity and TER trains.
The destinations that connect to La Rochelle via trains can also be done so via buses and cabs. The local bus-stand at Place de Verdun in the western part of the old city is where all long-distance and regional buses can be accessed. Flixbus runs bus services to Paris, Bordeaux and Nantes etc. at different times of the day; Eurolines is another big name in the long-distance bus service industry in this part of Europe.
For those travelling by car should be aware that La Rochelle is one of the bigger cities in France that is not connected directly to any of the highways. People still do travel to this city by car though. If coming in from Paris, follow route A10 till the exit at N11 to reach La Rochelle. Travellers coming in from Bordeaux should take the A10 and then exit onto A837 followed by D137.
One of the best ways to explore La Rochelle is on foot; even better, is to simply hire a bicycle from bike-rentals that can be found all over the city and go riding through town at your leisure. One of the most popular services is Yelo; not only do they have bike kiosks all over the city but the service also runs local buses that are easily recognizable by their distinct yellow and white colour. There are also boat and ferry services available from the Old Port to islands nearby; a common form of amusement among tourists.