Getting There — The La Rochelle–Ile-de-Ré airport (www.larochelle.aeroport.fr; tel. 08-92-23-01-03) is on the coast, 4km (2.5 miles) north of the city. Take bus no. 7 or 47 to reach it; for information and schedules, visit www.rtcr.fr or call tel. 05-46-34-84-58. Six to eight trains from Bordeaux and Nantes arrive daily (trip time: 2 hr.; 29€–31.50€ one-way). A few direct TGVs arrive from Paris’s Gare Montparnasse, although most require a transfer at Nantes (trip time: 3 hr., although this also benefits from the new high-speed rail if you work out the connection times well); the one-way fare is 30€ to 83€. For train information, visit www.oui.sncf or call tel. 36-35 (.40€/min.). The main bus lines in, out, and around the city leave from place de Verdun (tel. 05-46-00-95-15 for information). If you’re driving, follow A10 south from Poitiers to exit 33 toward La Rochelle/Niort/St-Maixent, and then take N11 west to the coast and La Rochelle.
Visitor Information — The Office de Tourisme is on Quai Georges Simenon, Le Gabut (www.larochelle-tourisme.com; tel. 05-46-41-14-68).
Special Events — The busiest month is July because the Festival International du Film de La Rochelle rolls in at the beginning of the month. It attracts a huge following of fans, press, actors, directors, and, of course, paparazzi. Screenings are held around town; a pass for 10 screenings costs 50€. For information, contact the festival office, at 10 Quai Georges Simenon (www.festival-larochelle.org; tel. 05-46-52-28-96 or 01-48-06-16-66). For a week in mid-July, Les Francofolies, a festival of French-speaking music, features big names as well as not-so-famous groups, many of them international musicians. The town is overrun with fans, and a party atmosphere prevails. Tickets range from 15€ to 50€. Call tel. 05-46-28-28-28 for details (www.francofolies.fr).
La Rochelle is also the site of the biggest showcase of boats and yachts in Europe, Le Grand Pavois–Salon Nautique. It’s a 6-day extravaganza in late-September attracting some 80,000 visitors. The action is based in and around La Rochelle’s Port de Plaisance (better known as the Bassin des Yachts, or Yacht Basin). Sellers and buyers of boats and marine hardware, as well as weekend sailors from everywhere, usually attend. For information about dates and venues, check www.grand-pavois.com or call tel. 05-46-44-46-39.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.