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Hotels in La Rochelle

Despite being a prime destination for international and domestic tourism, La Rochelle remains one of the prettiest and least spoiled seaside towns in France. This is thanks to Michel Crepeau, the 1970’s mayor who pedestrianised the old town and waterfront, protecting them from development. During the Renaissance, La Rochelle was one of the most important ports in France: and it still boasts the largest marina on the Atlantic coast.

If you’re not sailing your yacht over to the Bay of Biscay, you can always fly into La Rochelle Airport and book a hotel in the city. There are plenty of hotels in La Rochelle to choose from, whether you’re looking for a budget bargain or a luxurious five star treat. With Skyscanner it’s easy to compare the prices and amenities of the best hotels in La Rochelle.

Compact and car free, La Rochelle is an easy city to get around on foot. Cycling is king: La Rochelle was the first city in France to pioneer the street bicycle rental scheme, and the famous yellow bikes can still be spotted on many a street corner. Whether you’re exploring on two feet or two wheels, there’s plenty to discover in La Rochelle.

The heart of the action can be found in the old quarter. From the waterfront you stroll through the imposing gothic gatehouse, the Porte de la Grosse Horloge, and into the warren of streets and shops that make up La Rochelle’s attractive old town. The 18th Century buildings house residential apartments, and some of them have been converted into hotels and restaurants. Shopping tends towards the boutique, with small independent designers flogging everything from clothing to homewares.

History buffs will enjoy the old port. It’s the oldest part of La Rochelle, and its three towers date back to the 14th and 15th centuries. Quebec’s first settlers left for Canada from this very port, and the Tour de la Chaine plays host to a permanent exhibition celebrating the emigrants. The waterfront around the port is packed with bustling cafes and bistros, where you can sample the city’s famous oysters and sip cognac from just 65 miles down the road.

For a more modern slice of La Rochelle, head to the massive marina Port des Minimes. This is where the beautiful people park their yachts, with room for over 3500 pleasure boats. Unsurprisingly there’s great tourist infrastructure here, with plenty of restaurants and bars as well as a few hotels.

The city beach sits to the west of the port itself. It’s nice enough, but for a real slice of French beach life it’s best to get out of La Rochelle proper and head to the nearby Ile de Re. It’s connected to the city by a 3km long bridge, and is a popular summer destination for Parisians. The beaches can get quite crowded during August, but it’s still a very pleasant place to cycle around and explore before flopping down to watch the sunset from a restaurant terrace.