Contact Vanessa +188.8.131.52.94.17 ou/or firstname.lastname@example.org
Link in google maps of Gite/B&B Escale Rochelaise location - just plug in your address and away you go https://goo.gl/maps/U1yHcx7JwgB45KSf9. For those that do not use Google Maps, the actual address is; 33 Rue Albert 1er, La Rochelle, 17000, France or GPS coordinates : Latitude: 46.16497871001904 Longitude: -1.151556330027579
BUS and TRAIN
SNCF (France's national state-owned railway company) https://en.oui.sncf/en/train/route/paris/la-rochelle
Trains and buses arrive at the 'La Rochelle train station 'Gare SNCF' and there are 3 options to come to us :
By foot - click link for walking directions from La Rochelle Railway Station to Escale Rochelaise here.
By public transport - involves about a 10-minute bus ride and 3-minute walk. Your stop is 'Place de Verdun'. Directions here
The Laleu/La Rochelle airport is nice and small. Love it! Unfortunately their site is not in English - not sure why. https://www.larochelle.aeroport.fr/
Once you have landed, cleared customs and collected your suitcases, 2 options to get to us :
By taxi - 10-minutes taxi ride from Escale Rochelaise. I would suggest booking in advance as experience has taught me that there are not many available once I have come to the curb. Bit frustrating if all you want to do is get to your destination. Abc Taxi website or Abeilles Taxi website
By public transport - cheapest and sometimes fastest way to get to the city center. Your stop is 'Place de Verdun', and then we are literally a 5-minute walk from the bus stop. Bus information here and your walking route to us from Place de Verdun here.
Now that you know how to get to Escale Rochelaise, now what is there to do?
Nearly everything you want to know about La Rochelle and its surroundings can be found either online or at the La Rochelle Tourism Office so I thought I would introduce you to my favorite things to do and places to eat.
When you arrive in Bed and Breakfast Escale Rochelaise, you will also find a tourist guide book that I have put together, as well as a restaurant recommendation book that your fellow guests have filled in with their recommendations of restaurants they 'found' while they were here.
Whether you decide to walk, bike, boat or drive ... all modes of transport will allow you to explore but, please, do not forget to do MY favorite activity in a new city - sit and watch. I find I learn so much just by sitting and watching (so have suggested some of my favorite spots in that activity as well).
On your walks, by day, by night, some of the stops I would suggest :
If you have a bit longer in La Rochelle :
Vanessa's personal tips;
The 3 towers are free to visit for europeans under the age of 26 and for anyone under the age of 18 with their family. Also, except for the months of July and August, the towers are closed the first Monday morning of each month (as are many places and shops in La Rochelle).
In summer months, queues for tickets to the aquarium can be long, so booking online can help save time.
If you like to do lots of 'guided' things, visit sites and museums - the City Pass might be a good option for you.
La Rochelle by night, is a MUST! Admire the lighting of La Rochelle. The port is animated, the towers are lit, and people watching at its best.
To get around a bit faster, to go a bit further (and my preferred way to travel) - a bike is where it is at.
2 options :
Rent one or use the "Yeló" network of public bikes (they also have boats and buses).
Should you wish to rent a bike, there is space in the garage of the house for you to park them over-night. There are a few bike renters in La Rochelle. I think this outfit Bicycle Rental Shop covers all types of bikes and their prices are in-line with others.
My personal tip :
If you arrive in La Rochelle by train and do not have too much luggage, one idea could be to pick up your bike on the way to the house as this particular renter is on the way to us
See directions from La Rochelle Railway Station to Escale Rochelaise via Cycling Tour rental shop
The other bike option is the 'yelo' (yellow banana in color) bikes. Like in many city's, a bike-sharing scheme with dozens of bike stands around town. borrow a bike at one station and return it to another. The cities website on how it works, costs, cycle routes, maps, and apps does not appear to be in english but that is what I am there for!
Public bicycle rental scheme website (only in French, sorry).
We are after all a coastal city so, a must-do activity is to go out to sea.
Multiple ways. Take a mini-cruise to one of the neighboring 3 islands (see THE ISLANDS RE, AIX and OLERON info below) or use the sea as a means of transportation.
Two clever ways to move around, with the added bonus of being on the water, and enjoy up and close the famous towers and some sites of La Rochelle.
'Passeur' Sea bus (Le Passeur) : Save time with this electro-solar powered. A five-minute ferry service that links the old port (Vieux Port) to the 'Ville en Bois' by crossing La Rochelle's channel by boat! Saves walking all the way around the old port. It runs when there are passengers. Press the red button on the board at the top of the gangplank to beckon a boat. Tickets are bought onboard.
Sea Bus (Bus de Mer) : A small solar-powered Sea Boat that connects the old port (Vieux Port ) to the pleasure sailing port and beach area of Les Minimes. On your trip, you will sail in between the two towers - what a treat.
My personal tips ;
Check the schedule as being a seaside town, we are subject to activities that are linked to the high and low tides. Certains days of the year, due to Spring Tides, the
Spring Tide 'Passeur' & Sea Bus interruptions schedule
Next time is IF you decide on the Sea Bus option to Les Minimes, an ice cream is a must. Check out my Wining and dining with a 'French Touch' tab for THE best ice cream place in town (my opinion) and a lunch suggestion.
Of course, by car, you are independent and a bit more relaxed as no clock telling you what time to be where.
Below are driving estimates to some of the more popular places for visitors that have a few more days in the La Rochelle area to venture out further afield.
30 MINUTES AWAY
Rochefort is a naval town with lots of history and things to visit (rope factory image above, docks, the frigate Hermione just to name a couple).
75 MINUTES AWAY
Cognac. Martell, Hennessey, Otard. If those names are familiar to you, with visions of a brandy snifter in your hand dancing in your head - then this side trip is for you.
90 MINUTES AWAY
Puy du Fou is a different type of theme park, a rural theme park without any rides yet voted to be the best theme park in the world (not sure about that but, that is what they say). Personally, I would go back in a heart beat! It is GREAT! The 'Bal des Oiseaux Fantômes' is simply unforgettable. Worth the drive, the money, a picnic and stay the evening Cinésénie. You won't regret it! BUT (isn't there always one), reservations need to be made for the night time show well in advance.
Futuroscope is a totally different theme park experience than Puy du Fou and equally memorable. Expect something different. Something that will surprise you, that will give you visions of what some think the future will look like, you'll have some new experiences, some thrills and great shows - for all ages.
2 HOURS AWAY
Bordeaux needs little introduction. An awesome city!
No trip to La Rochelle would be complete without a few minutes taken to go see, sit, or swim in the ocean. In your rooms are beach towels* so please, use them. Within walking and then biking distances from the house are 3 beaches :
The closest one - The “Plage de la Concurrence”
About 15-minutes walk through the city center or if you go through the Charruyer park, it leads you right there.
The Chef-de-Baie beach, furthest from the city center, but the one most protected from most wind directions because of the sea wall, plus a large lawn area above the beach for kids (and adults) to run and play. Walking would take about 1 hour, by bike about 20-minutes.
The beach of Les Minimes, the largest one in La Rochelle. Sometimes a bit crowded.
IF you have the time, you could cycle of drive to one of my favorites either on Ile de Ré or in Châtelaillon beach which, although man made, has the reputation of being one of the most beautiful in Charente-Maritime!
*By beach towel I actually mean a 'foot-ah'. Originally from Tunisia (some say Morocco), this material has been around for centuries. Piece of cotton or linen fabric, worn by both men and women to wrap around the body while at the Hammam spas. Nowadays used for pretty much anything including as a beach towel. Main reason I think is, dries fast, light and sand does not seem to stick to it like a traditional beach towel.
For those that want to venture to one of the 3 neighboring islands ;
Ré Island (Ile de Ré): A 'trendy' popular island said to be the jewel in the crown of Charente Maritime. It also boasts being a UNESCO World Heritage site since 2008.
You can get there by car via a bridge, public transport or by the sea.
IF this is your island of choice, in my 'Blue Book' (restaurant suggestions) a guest said this ;
'Definitely one of our Ré island highlights. Reservation are a must if you want a table on the terrace with an amazing sea view'.
Having personally eaten here, for me, it's the terrace or nothing. The food is OK but the view and the ambiance quite splendid. Even for a drink. Reservation required, sometimes even 2-3 days in advance.
Oléron island (Ile d'Oléron) : Larger than Ré, a bit more 'wild' with its pine forests, dunes and sandy beaches.
It is connected to the mainland by a bridge. Two suggested ways to get there, car or boat.
And my personal favorite - the tiny island of Aix (Ile-d'Aix), accessible only by boat. Paradise still does exist! Promise, you will not regret spending some time here!
I lived on Ile de Ré for 10 years and we have a home on Aix so I can be your personal tour advisor on these places.
Two companies that do mini-cruises to the these islands with a viewing of Fort Boyard as one of the highlights. You can either book half-day or full-day tours :
http://www.navipromer.com/en/index.php (going to all 3 islands from La Rochelle port, about a 10-minute walk away AND our favorite operator. their staff is SO staff and bicycles are allowed - except during the months of July & August).
http://inter-iles.com/ (also going from La Rochelle port)
For those that choose to explore île D'Aix, there is another option to get there. You need to drive about 45 minutes south of La Rochelle and take the 'lifeline' ferry (20-minute trip and bicycles accepted on this one). More info here :
Just sitting and observing. My spots :
Sitting down here (see link), water dangling over waters edge (or sitting on public benches) and watch people with the 3 towers and old port as back drop. Directions from Escale Rochelaise to the spot :
Sitting here (again legs dangling or on the public benches), anywhere along this path, apéro time being the best, pizza in a box, cold beer just opened watching the boats come in and out of port. Directions from Escale Rochelaise the spot :
Again, sitting here for a beautiful sunset with our favorite island as the back drop (Ile d'Aix). It is a 45-minute walk, or you can take advantage of the Yelo Sea Bus which will take out a good chunk of that walk. See directions from Escale Rochelaise to Allée Stella Maris :
There are always things going on in La Rochelle, some of them drawing thousands of people.
Adventure Film Festival (November)
For me, it is THE feel good festival. You finish a film and you feel 'We can do more'. 'There is more' and basically 'wow'.
Adventure Film Festival website
One that is fun and every year different. Four nights of music and ambiance only steps away from our doorstep.
Grand Pavois (September)
Another one we (husband and I) enjoy or better yet, we go to DREAM ... It is THE nautical boat show. We have multiple friends that are in the nautical business so should you be here during that trade show and would like some tickets, just let me know.
Grand Pavois website
Those are only 3 that we usually do not miss, but below is a link to the bigger events that La Rochelle boasts :
La Rochelle big events calendar
As I mentioned earlier, I often ask guests to write about their restaurant discoveries so, you will have a few pages of recommendations by your fellow travellers when you arrive, kind of like your on-site very own TripAdvisor!
Should prior to your arrival, you want a couple of suggestions to get you started, these ones seem to come up often, and consistently get good reviews in this book here at the house (and perhaps needs reservations depending on the time of year you are here :
THIS is my favorite part of the day. Without a doubt - 2 places with very contrasting ambiances, each one worth a visit.
'Le Terrasse de la Plaine' http://www.prao.biz/index.php/prao-terrasse.
Having had some guests return only to say they could not find it, here are the directions from Escale Rochelaise to Terrasse de la Chaîne https://goo.gl/maps/borZEmCJzFrAmnTr6
Belle du Gabut http://www.belledugabut.com/
An eclectic place to discover. Grafitti & street artists were the decorators pulling all forms of chairs, tables, bars together in one spot. Anything and everything goes! Drinks, nibbles, music and a good time! Bonus for families, kids are also welcome (an enclosed play area to run, have fun and let loose)!
Ginger 'Fresh thinking, healthy eating'! http://www.ginger-larochelle.com/
'Tip top', 'Bon rapport qualité prix, très savoureux et service assez rapide', 'Excellent restaurant, cadre sympathique, service rapide & agréable', 'Super resto qui propose des menus le soir pour 30€. Les plats sont recherchés et complexes'.
Fleur de Sel https://www.lafleurdesel-larochelle.com/
'Nourriture exquise. Réservation recommendé. 'Tester et apprécié'.
Cabanon du Pêchers https://www.lecabanondespecheurs-restaurant.fr/
'Nice area, not too many tourists, excellent food and service, priceworthy. Highly recommend'. 'Not too many tourists, relaxed ambiance & service, nice interior, 'rapport qualité prix'. Definitely recommend'.
Iseo 'Bistro de la mer' https://www.facebook.com/IseoBistrotDeLaMer/
A personal favorite of ours. Unique cuisine using spices from all around the world. Reservations are also recommended.
I could go on and on ... oysters, seafood, ice creams ... the list of places is endless! We'll have lots to talk about.
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