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La Rochelle, Islands & Beaches

France’s sunny west coast
 
This delightful self-guided cycling holiday with luggage transfers provides plenty of opportunities to relax by the sea, as well as to spend a day on chic Île de Ré. Discover a stunning coastline with long beaches, a fascinating maritime history and excellent seafood.
La Rochelle, Islands & Beaches. 6 nights
La Rochelle, Islands & Beaches. 6 nights
 

Holiday information

 

A cycling holiday around La Rochelle

The Charente-Maritime coastline is synonymous with long, sandy beaches and plentiful sunshine. But there’s more to it than that.
If you can tear yourselves away from the plages  to follow our suggested cycle routes, you’ll discover why this glorious coastline – whose flat terrain is perfect for cycling – has such a wide appeal.
History? Tick – there are 17th- and early 19th-century fortifications right along the coast, and you can delve into the region’s maritime traditions, naval battles, and links to Napoleon and the explorer Champlain. Good food? Tick – the oysters and mussels are some of the best in France, and prawns, lobster, fresh sardines, sole and scallops also feature widely on menus. Wildlife? Tick – the wetlands are teeming with wading birds such as oystercatchers, curlews, redshanks, sandpipers, little egrets, spoonbills and ringed plovers. Towns and villages to potter around? Tick – you’ll find your fill in La Rochelle and on glamorous Île de Ré. The choice is yours.
 
Gallery
 

Itinerary

The key to Inntravel holidays is flexibility. You can start on the day of your choice, and are free to add extra nights.
  • The average maximum daytime temperatures and monthly rainfall relate to the nearest weather station and are intended as a guide only.
    Average temperatures and rainfall
      Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
    °C 9 10 12 15 18 22 24 24 22 18 13 9
    mm 81 69 56 53 59 52 44 57 70 78 98 89
  • Arrival in Fouras
    Night 1: at Grand Hotel des Bains (the first of three nights here).
    As your first night's accommodation is on the day of travel, Day 1 is your first day of cycling.
  • Free day to explore Fouras
    You could simply spend your first day in Fouras, a charming Belle Époque resort set on a peninsula fringed by no fewer than five sandy beaches. We suggest exploring the northern bay, which is lined with elaborate early-20th-century villas, as well as Pointe de la Fumée at the very tip of the peninsula, where oysters are farmed and fishermen cast their nets from wooden cabins perched on stilts. You could also visit the imposing Vauban fortress to admire the sea views.
    Circular route on Aix: 13km
    However, to ease yourself gently into the saddle, we recommend that you hop on a ferry with your bikes to the tiny, traffic-free island of Aix (timings depend on the tide; pay locally). The ferry trip is scenic, with views to Fort Boyard and a second offshore fort, Enet. Given that the island is only 3km long, the route circumnavigating it is suitably short for your first day, meaning you can linger at the viewpoints and at the museum which examines Aix’s links to Napoleon (it was under his orders that the island was fortified, and it was on Aix that he last stood on French soil before he was exiled in 1815). There are also inviting coves and beaches where you can relax by the sea.
    Aix
  • Circular route from Fouras: 50km; shorter option: 43km
    Although this is a relatively long route, the cycle paths and tracks are on the flat, and you can opt to miss out the loop alongside the River Charente on the outward leg. Your target is Rochefort, a grid-patterned town on the Charente estuary famed for its naval links. 300 ships were built here in the 18th century, and many reminders of this era remain, including the Corderie Royale (rope factory) and the dry dock where the replica of Hermione, the ship in which General Lafayette sailed to America to support the fight for independence, was built. Take your time to explore these and the museum about the town’s rare transporter bridge, before returning to Fouras.
    La Corderie Royale in Rochefort
  • Fouras to La Rochelle: 34km
    Heading northwards from Fouras, you initially cross wetlands to then join a scenic coastal cycle path, passing wooden fishermen’s cabins and nets balanced on stilts. There’s the option to pause in handsome Châtelaillon-Plage before continuing to bike-friendly La Rochelle, which you enter via the Old Port – a perfect introduction. Your base for three nights is Le Champlain.
    Arrival in La Rochelle
  • Explore La Rochelle
    La Rochelle is a graceful, captivating city known as La Ville Blanche because of the pale limestone from which it is built. You'll no doubt want to spend your first full day in the city discovering its towers, marinas, churches, art galleries, aquarium, stately mansions and arcaded streets – we provide notes for a self-guided walking trail. With museums devoted to history, automaton, the sea, natural history and even perfume bottles, there is something for everyone, and boat trips along the coast can be arranged and paid for locally.
    Market day in La Rochelle
  • Choice of routes from La Rochelle: 8km-55km

    Circular route on Île de Ré: 8km, 15km, 30km or 44km
    Our recommended option today is to head to chic Île de Ré, popular in summer among holidaying Parisians. To maximise your time on the island, our advice is to take an inexpensive bus there, then hire a bike locally (approx. €13pp). The extensive network of cycle paths gives you great flexibility to explore as much or as little as you want of the island, depending on your mood and your interests. There’s plenty to discover: urbane villages, bustling markets, pristine beaches, a nature reserve (where, depending on the time of year, you may spot shelducks, black-winged stilts, pied avocets, ospreys, sacred ibises and black-tailed godwits), not to mention views towards the mainland offering a new perspective of this alluring coastline.

    Out-and-back route to Marans: 55km (27.5km each way)
    For a change from coastal scenery, you might prefer to cycle inland alongside the Marans Canal, perhaps making it as far as the town of the same name, which makes a good lunch stop before you retrace your route.
    Ile de Ré
 

Accommodation

Your two hotels are well located for exploring.
 

Extend your stay

 
Prices & travel options
All prices are in £ sterling (GBP). If you'd like to see what they equate to in your currency, use the converter.
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  • 6 nights: 06 April - 30 September 2019

    Start any day | End by latest date(s) shown above

    Starting Price Single room
    6 April - 23 May £785 £470
    24 May - 28 June £815 £485
    29 June - 24 September £845 £515
    3rd & 4th person discount -£55
    Single traveller supplement £55

    Includes accommodation, meals, bike hire, luggage transfers and any other services integral to the holiday as described, plus cycling notes and maps, but no travel from the UK, nor any connecting travel from the airport unless stated below.

    Electric bikes available: add £68 per person

    Book your flights through us and we'll find the best route and times to suit you. Please contact us to find out more about our flight booking service. We can also book connecting travel - see below.

    6 nights: 06 April - 30 September 2019

    Start any day | End by latest date(s) shown above

    Starting Price Single room
    6 April - 23 May £995 £470
    24 May - 28 June £1030 £485
    29 June - 24 September £1065 £515
    3rd & 4th person discount -£45
    Single traveller supplement £45

    Includes all elements in the 'cycle price', plus standard-class travel by Eurostar from London St Pancras or Ebbsfleet International to Lille or Paris, with onward travel as described below.

    Electric bikes available: add £68 per person
    Included travel: UK–Paris (Eurostar), Paris–La Rochelle (TGV), approx duration 6h45 out/7h15 home & taxi transfer (out 0h40/home 0h15).

    If you book your holiday less than 3 months in advance of your travel date, seats may no longer be available at the tariffs on which our prices are based, but we may be able to offer you seats on the sames services at a supplement.

    6 nights: 06 April - 30 September 2019

    Start any day | End by latest date(s) shown above

    Starting Price Single room
    6 April - 23 May £920 £470
    24 May - 28 June £955 £485
    29 June - 24 September £990 £515
    3rd & 4th person discount -£160
    Single traveller supplement £160

    Includes all elements in the 'cycle price', plus a return ferry crossing between Dover and Calais with P&O Ferries for your party and one car.

    Electric bikes available: add £68 per person

    A supplement of £35 per car per single journey applies for outbound travel 5-7 Apr & 19-21 Apr, and for inbound travel 21-22 Apr 2019. A supplement of £45 per car per single journey applies outbound on Fridays & Saturdays 24-25 May & 12 Jul-17 Aug 2019 inclusive, and inbound on Saturdays & Sundays 1-2 Jun & 19 Jul-2 Sep 2019 inclusive.

  • Room upgrades (£ per person per night)

    Grand Hotel des Bains
    'Privilège': 06 Apr - 30 Sep 2019 £12
    Privilège plus: 06 Apr - 30 Sep 2019 £22
    Hotel le Champlain
    'Prestige': 06 Apr - 30 Sep 2019 £12

    Extra nights (£ per person per night) in a double or single room

    Prices include an extra day’s hire of a standard bike. If you are upgrading to an e-bike, add a further £6pp per day.
    Grand Hotel des Bains (B&B) Double room Single room
    06 Apr - 30 Jun 2019 £95 £173
    01 Jul - 30 Sep 2019 £105 £193
    Hotel le Champlain (B&B) Double room Single room
    06 Apr - 30 Sep 2019 £98 £166
  • RECOMMENDED AIRPORT(S):
    Bordeaux, La Rochelle, Paris CDG

    Travelling from the UK

    Travelling from outside the UK

    If you are flying from outside Europe,  we recommend flying via Paris CDG. To discuss onward connecting travel to the start of your holiday, please contact us.

    Outward route Airline
    Aberdeen - Bordeaux (via Amsterdam Schiphol) KLM 
    Aberdeen - Bordeaux (via Paris) Air France 
    Aberdeen - Paris CDG Air France,  KLM 
    Outward route Airline
    Belfast City - Paris CDG Flybe 
    Outward route Airline
    Belfast Intl. - Bordeaux easyJet 
    Belfast Intl. - Paris CDG Flybe 
    Outward route Airline
    Birmingham - Bordeaux Flybe 
    Birmingham - Bordeaux (via Paris) Air France 
    Birmingham - La Rochelle Flybe 
    Birmingham - Paris CDG Air France,  Flybe 
    Outward route Airline
    Bristol - Bordeaux easyJet,  Flybe 
    Bristol - La Rochelle easyJet 
    Bristol - Paris CDG Air France,  easyJet 
    Outward route Airline
    Cardiff - Paris CDG Flybe 
    Outward route Airline
    Doncaster Sheffield - Paris CDG Flybe 
    Outward route Airline
    Edinburgh - Bordeaux Flybe,  Ryanair 
    Edinburgh - Bordeaux (via Paris) Air France 
    Edinburgh - Paris CDG Air France,  easyJet,  Flybe 
    Outward route Airline
    Exeter - Paris CDG Flybe 
    Outward route Airline
    Glasgow - Bordeaux easyJet 
    Glasgow - Paris CDG easyJet 
    Outward route Airline
    Leeds Bradford - La Rochelle jet2 
    Leeds Bradford - Paris CDG jet2 
    Outward route Airline
    Liverpool - Bordeaux easyJet 
    Liverpool - Paris CDG easyJet 
    Outward route Airline
    London City - Paris CDG Flybe 
    Outward route Airline
    Gatwick - Bordeaux British Airways,  easyJet 
    Gatwick - La Rochelle easyJet 
    Gatwick - Paris CDG easyJet 
    Outward route Airline
    Heathrow - Bordeaux (via Paris) Air France 
    Heathrow - Paris CDG British Airways 
    Outward route Airline
    Luton - Bordeaux easyJet 
    Outward route Airline
    London Southend - Paris CDG easyJet 
    Outward route Airline
    Stansted - Bordeaux Ryanair 
    Stansted - La Rochelle Ryanair 
    Outward route Airline
    Manchester - Bordeaux easyJet,  Ryanair 
    Manchester - Bordeaux (via Paris) Air France 
    Manchester - La Rochelle Flybe,  jet2 
    Manchester - Paris CDG Air France,  easyJet,  Flybe 
    Outward route Airline
    Newcastle - Bordeaux (via Amsterdam Schiphol) KLM 
    Newcastle - Bordeaux (via Paris) Air France 
    Newcastle - Paris CDG Air France,  KLM 
    Outward route Airline
    Norwich - Bordeaux Flybe 
    Norwich - Paris CDG Flybe 
    Outward route Airline
    Southampton - Bordeaux Flybe 
    Southampton - Bordeaux (via Paris) Air France 
    Southampton - La Rochelle Flybe 
    Southampton - Paris CDG Flybe 
    Travelling from outside the UK

    If you are flying from outside Europe,  we recommend flying via Paris CDG. To discuss onward connecting travel to the start of your holiday, please contact us.

    This list of flight options should be used as a guide only, and you should check each airline’s website for current routes, frequency and schedules. Not all flights operate daily, and may not run for the entire season. You should also heed the latest flight arrival time and earliest flight departure time stated in the connecting travel section, as it may not be possible to arrange connecting travel outside these times. Please do not book your flights until we have confirmed your accommodation to you. Alternatively, our expert reservations team will be happy to offer advice and to make flight bookings for you. We charge £30 per person for our flight booking service (£50 for India and Nepal). Your flights are then covered by our package-booking conditions, which give you greater protection in the event of delay or cancellation, as well as providing ATOL cover.

  • Prices below are based on 2 people travelling together. If you are travelling solo or as a party of 3 or more and our arrangements include a taxi, please contact us for prices; additional passengers often pay less.

    Connecting travel options - flying via Bordeaux

    Outward route Price per person Latest flight
    arrival time
    rail Bordeaux to Rochefort (2h10), taxi Rochefort to hotel (0h20) £27 1400
    Homeward route Price per person Earliest flight
    departure time
    taxi last hotel to La Rochelle (0h15), rail La Rochelle to Bordeaux (2h30) £19 1500

    Connecting travel options - flying via La Rochelle

    Outward route Price per person Latest flight
    arrival time
    direct taxi La Rochelle airport to hotel (0h35) £25 flexible
    Homeward route Price per person Earliest flight
    departure time
    direct taxi last hotel to La Rochelle airport (0h20) £5 flexible

    Connecting travel options - flying via Paris

    Outward route Price per person Latest flight
    arrival time
    coach Paris CDG to Paris Montparnasse (1h15), rail Paris Montparnasse to La Rochelle (3h), taxi La Rochelle to hotel (0h40) £92 1200
    Homeward route Price per person Earliest flight
    departure time
    taxi last hotel to La Rochelle (0h15), rail La Rochelle to Paris (3h), coach Paris Montparnasse to Paris CDG (1h15) £66 1600
What is included
  • 6 nights
  • 1 dinner
    6 breakfasts
  • luggage transported
  • route notes and maps
  • high-quality bicycle
 
Reviews

If you've experienced this holiday first hand, why not write a review?

We are keen for as many customers as possible to review their holiday. To make it easier to do so, we include a specific review section on our post-holiday questionnaire, and this is what we publish here, unedited. Read our full review policy >

 

FAQs

If you have any questions relating to this or any other Inntravel holiday, our friendly travel experts will be happy to help.
  • Our chosen bike rental shop will provide you with a hybrid bike with 21 gears; a waterproof map case on handlebars; pannier/saddlebag; pump; puncture repair kit; and a lock. Electric bikes are available as an upgrade (see price panel), subject to availability, and must be requested at the time of booking.
  • While we would always recommend that you take your own well-fitting helmet, they can be hired locally for a small fee. Please let us know at the time of booking if you would like to hire a helmet.
  • Yes, we will provide GPX tracks for this holiday prior to departure so that you can follow your route on your smartphone or dedicated GPS device if you wish. (We also provide maps and our tried-and-tested route notes.)
  • We’ll send you route notes and maps 2-3 weeks before your holiday. The route notes not only contain directions to get from hotel to hotel, but also include practical information about places of interest and eateries along each route, plus cultural information about the area. On mornings when you are moving between hotels, you leave your luggage in reception as you leave, and it will be transferred ahead to your next accommodation so that all you need to take with you are a camera, sun cream, drinks, food and waterproofs.
  • You do need to make sure you’re covered, because it’s you who is responsible for any damage to or loss of the bike during the holiday. You should always lock it (preferably to an immovable object) and remove any easy-to-steal accessories when leaving it unattended. The travel insurance policy that we offer covers you for loss and damage (provided you’ve locked or stored it appropriately). If you are arranging your own insurance, but it doesn’t cover bikes, we can provide bike-only cover for £19 per person. More details >
  • We can book a wide range of airlines and routes from the UK. As well as being more convenient for you to book all elements of your holiday together, it also means that we’ll accept liability for your travel arrangements, so if things go wrong, such as the airline going bust, we’ll make suitable alternative arrangements for you. For Europe and Morocco, there’s a £30 booking fee per person (£15 for children aged 2-11). For India and Nepal, the booking fee is £50 per person. More information on flights >
  • We can’t book flights that originate outside the UK, but if you wanted book your own flights to London (or elsewhere in the UK), we can make all onward travel arrangements (including flights) from there. Alternatively, if you are booking your own flights to an airport in continental Europe that’s appropriate for your holiday, we can book onward rail travel and/or taxis. More information about how we can tailor holidays for customers outside the UK >
  • Since our holidays are self-guided, we recommend calling us for a chat about your plans before making a booking, especially if it’s the first time you’ve booked with us.
    The price panel shows the supplement for a single room and also the single traveller charge (this covers (luggage) transfers and other costs which are usually shared between two people).
  • Once you’ve decided on your exact itinerary (our travel experts will be happy to offer advice), you need to provide us with your party’s details, either by phone or via our booking form. At this point we also ask you to pay a deposit so that we can secure a room for you immediately on confirming availability with the hotel(s). If it turns out that we can’t secure the accommodation for the holiday you’ve requested, or offer an acceptable alternative, we’ll refund your deposit promptly and in full. After booking your accommodation and other key elements, we'll then book your travel (or you can do so if you’re making your own arrangements) and send you a Booking Confirmation and Invoice.
  • Yes, it’s something we insist on, even for holidays in the UK. The vast majority of holidays go smoothly, but when things go wrong, it can be expensive to put them right. Buying a new pair of walking boots after your suitcase is stolen mightn’t seem so bad, but the bill for being airlifted down from a mountain with a broken leg or flown home while still recovering from an illness or accident can cost tens of thousands of pounds.

    You don’t have to buy our policy (if you live outside Europe you’ll definitely need to make your own arrangements, as the policy is only for UK and EU residents), but you do need to make sure that you’re covered for medical emergencies and repatriation. We also recommend that you are covered for other eventualities, such as cancellation and loss of luggage and passports.
  • It is your responsibility to ensure you are in possession of the correct travel documents, with the correct validity. If you’re a UK citizen, you need a full British passport to travel to France, but not a visa (if you are travelling after 31 October 2019, see the Brexit question below for more information). If you are a citizen of another country, you’ll need to check requirements with the national embassy or your own consulate.

    Current information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found through the following NHS link: www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/advice/ You must make sure you have adequate insurance cover for illness, accidents and repatriation (see the insurance question). UK citizens should also obtain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) by applying at a Post Office or at www.ehic.org.uk. The EHIC allows reciprocal health care but should not be seen as a substitute for travel insurance. EHICs may cease to be valid in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
  • The official language is French. The currency is the Euro. French time is GMT/UTC + 1. It uses Daylight Saving Time, so in summer is on BST + 1.
  • Even in the event of a no-deal Brexit, it’s been confirmed that flights will continue as normal and that you won’t need a visa to go on holiday (the limit on stays is 90 days). What you will need if there’s no deal is a passport that is valid for at least 6 months beyond the date of your arrival (extra months added because you renewed your passport early do not count) and adequate travel insurance to cover you for accidents and illness in case reciprocal health deals are suspended. If you are driving while on holiday, you will probably need an International Driving Permit (plus a Green Card if you are taking your own car to Europe). More information >
  • The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) provides up-to-date, country-by-country travel advice, as well as information on security, local laws, passports and visas for UK citizens.
    If you live outside the UK, see our essential travel information page for a list of relevant websites.
Last fetch time is : 7/18/2019 5:03:37 PM