Car hire in La Rochelle
Car Hire in La Rochelle
The coastal city of La Rochelle sits in the southwest of France. Facing onto the Atlantic Ocean, the city has been a center for fishing and trade since the 12th century, and is home to Les Minimes - Europe’s largest marina for pleasure boats - and a rich boat-building industry.
It is often referred to as La Ville Blanche (or the White City) due to its luminous limestone façades. La Rochelle Airport (LRH) is the city’s nearest airport, placed just 6.5 km from the centre of the city.
What I need to know
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There is no credit card fee and if your travel plans change then there’s no charge for cancelling your La Rochelle car hire, as well as 24/7 customer support so there’s always someone to personally deal with your booking.
Where to pick up my car
Some of La Rochelle’s car rental companies can be based in the city’s train station - Gare de La Rochelle - while the rest can be found just outside on or near Avenue du Général de Gaulle.
“The pick-up was easy, it took 5 minutes from arriving at the desk to driving out the car, and the return took even less time.”
Where to go
Within La Rochelle, we’d recommend that you head to the Les Minimes marina and picturesque Vieux Port (Old Harbour) at the heart of the city. Here, you’ll encounter hundreds upon hundreds of yachts and many restaurants serving amazing seafood.
Other notable attractions in La Rochelle include the city’s massive port-side family aquarium and natural history museum.
It’s worth making the drive over to Île de Ré, which sits just 3 km west off the coast of La Rochelle.
Nearby La Rochelle
Less than 20 km north of La Rochelle brings you to Réserve Naturelle Nationale de la Baie de l'Aiguillon - a vast national nature reserve area covering around 5,000 hectares. There’s an even larger nature park to the east too - the 112,000-hectare Parc naturel régional du Marais Poitevin.
Some 35 km to the south is the commune of Rochefort, home to L'Hermione - a replica of a 1779 frigate - and Conservatoire du Bégonia, the world's largest begonia collection.
Driving two hours out to the vibrant port city of Bordeaux is definitely manageable. The region - famed for its vineyards and wine - is just located 190 km away from La Rochelle. If you can drive for another 200 km, you’ll reach Toulouse, known as France’s pink city due to its rosy-toned brick buildings.
Eating and drinking
As you’d expect for a coastal city, the seafood in La Rochelle is spectacular. From hake to mussels, you can’t really go wrong with any seafood dish here. The area is also famous for Cognac, with many bars keen to broaden the spirit’s appeal by incorporating it into their cocktails.
Things to do
La Rochelle is blessed with some special museums, notably Musee Maritime, Musees des Automates, Le Bunker de La Rochelle and the aforementioned natural history museum.
The vibrant sights and sounds of the city’s market - Marche du Centre Ville - make it worth exploring even if you have no intention of buying anything.
If you’re heading over to Île de Ré, try to make a point of visiting the lighthouse and scaling it 257 stairs to the magnificent view at the top.
More breathtaking views are available at the three Towers of La Rochelle, which were once used to the protect the port.
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