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La Rochelle & France's Southwest Coast

Discover a myriad of fascinating maritime curiosities

From $ per person

Fresh seafood, sweet cognac and a seagull train, France is nothing if not surprising. Join us on our brand new tour to La Rochelle and explore a corner of the country that often gets overlooked to discover a myriad of fascinating maritime curiosities.

The itinerary for your journey
Tour highlights
Days 1-2 - Discovering La Rochelle
La Rochelle

We meet at St Pancras International in preparation for our journey aboard the Eurostar in Standard Premier Class. On arrival in Paris we catch the onwards service south to La Rochelle. Then it's just a short walk to our hotel, Masqhotel La Rochelle. Beginning Day 2 with a guided coach tour of the city, we see sights such as Les Minimes Marina before travelling along the seafront. Afterwards we continue on foot, exploring the city's medieval centre.

Please note: For Departure ROS1902 the coach tour cannot take place due to an event, so the walking tour will be extended.

Day 3 - Rochefort and Cognac
Corderie Royale In Rochefort

This morning we are driven by coach to nearby Rochefort, a town with strong maritime links and impressive riverside façades. Here we embark on a guided walking tour taking in attractions like the Maritime Arsenal, a former naval base, the Hermoine Frigate, a replica of the ship that transported General Lafayette to the US in1780, the Royal Cordage and the Gardens of Returns which helps us understand just how important sea faring was here during the 18th and 19th centuries. We make a stop for lunch before making our way into Cognac country where we visit Maison Boinaud to learn about how this distinctive apple brandy is made, before sampling its flavours for ourselves.


Please note: For Departure ROS1902 Days 3 and 4 are swapped due to availability at Maison Boinaud.

Days 4-5 - Île de Ré
Saint Martin de Re

We journey to the Île de Ré this afternoon, a unique island known for its salt marshes, idyllic sand dune-littered beaches and Phare des Baleines lighthouse. Whilst on the island we visit Chateliers Abbey, built by Cistercian monks in 1156 and which is remarkably well-preserved considering its age, and St-Martinde- Ré, a town with 17th century fortifications and a bustling harbour. Enjoy some time at leisure and watch the local fishing boats or spend an hour or two admiring the exhibits at the Musée Ernest Cognacq. Day 5 is free for you to explore La Rochelle, perhaps take a boat trip out to the world-famous Fort Boyard.


Please note: For Departure ROS1902 Days 3 and 4 are swapped due to availability at Maison Boinaud.

Day 6 - Les Train des Mouettes
Train des Mouettes

Travelling firstly to Saujon, we board the heritage Les Train des Mouettes, the train of seagulls and oldest steam locomotive in France, for a fantastic steamhauled journey through the French countryside. The line originally opened in 1876 but closed at the start of WWII, reopening in the 1980s for tourists. It gained its unusual name from the livery of the original carriages which were bright yellow, just like a seagull's beak. After some time to look around Saujon following the return journey, we return to La Rochelle for a farewell dinner together at a local restaurant.

Day 7 - Return to London

We take the train back to Paris, joining the Eurostar service to London.

Departure Dates

All prices are per person and assume full occupancy of the room.
Please always refer to the website for up-to-date prices and availability.


The high speed Eurostar trains link St Pancras International in London with Paris and Lille in France as well as Brussels in Belgium.

Eurostar's Standard Class coaches feature two seats on either side of the central aisle, most of which is arranged in an 'airline' seating configuration with drop down tray tables. There are two tables for four per carriage. Passengers travelling in Eurostar Standard Class coaches can take advantage of the Bar-Buffet which sells a range of snacks, meals, hot and cold drinks - including Champagne!

The highest class of Eurostar travel available for leisure customers is Standard Premier Class. In your dedicated Standard Premier carriage you'll find a less dense seat configuration, meaning the seats are larger and you have ample space to relax and stretch out. As part of the service you'll enjoy complimentary drinks and refreshments, served at your seat by friendly, helpful waiting staff.

For the class of travel used on your chosen tour, please refer to the 'What's Included' section of the tour page.


Introduced in 1981, France's TGV (Train à Grande Vitesse) was the original European high-speed train. Linking Paris with Lyon, the new service revolutionised train travel and meant that travelling by air over medium and short distances was no longer seen as the best option, even for business travel.

The network has expanded rapidly and today these sleek, stylish trains offer links to over 60 destinations throughout France. Operated by SNCF, the French national rail operator, TGV trains travel over specially-constructed high speed lines. The trains can achieve speeds of up to 186mph (300km/h) on most long distance routes and 200mph (320km/h) on the new TGV Est line, which links Paris with Strasbourg, Luxembourg and Basel. With the exception of shorter journeys, TGVs almost always have an on-board buffet car, serving a selection of drinks and light refreshments.

Train des Mouettes
Train des Mouettes

The railway between La Tremblade and Saujon originally opened in 1875. In spite of the beautiful coastal scenery that the line passed through, it never handled large numbers of passengers, and from 1938 the railway only handled freight.

This was not a popular decision with local people, but whilst the railway was still a working line nothing could be done. So, when the railway finally closed in 1980, the preservation movement was rapid, and the first heritage trains ran in 1984. Although ownership has changed a few times, the line has remained a firm favourite with both tourists and locals ever since. It has now been nicknamed the "Train des Mouettes" (Train of the Seagulls), thanks to the seaside route it goes through.

Masqhotel La Rochelle, La Rochelle
Masqhotel La Rochelle

Near to the train station as well as just a 10-minute walk from the local beach, the 4-Star Masqhotel La Rochelle is located in the city's old town, a short distance from the vieux port. A buffet breakfast is included and provides a range of hot and cold dishes to choose from while the contemporary, air conditioned rooms come with tea & coffee making facilities.

What's included

An escorted experience and all travel arrangements

Comfortable accommodation in your destination

Delicious meals included

Exciting excursions and free time to explore

Not Included



We offer a selection of upgrades and 'add-ons' designed to help you make the most of your holiday - and make it even easier!

London Hotels
London hotels

Spending a night in London before your tour can make such a difference to the first day of your holiday - you can arrive in the capital in good time, relaxed and ready to join your Tour Manager the next morning. You may even want to take in a show on the West End, or dine in one of London's famous restaurants. Perhaps on your return to London, you would like to break your journey with an overnight stay before continuing home.

We are able to book a wide range of hotels in central London or, for our holidays beginning with a flight, at Heathrow, Gatwick or Manchester Airport for the night before or after your holiday. The hotels listed below are some of the more popular hotels our customers book in Central London, others are available on request.

Hotel       Room Rate From Price 
The Ambassador Hotel      From £65 per person
Pullman London St Pancras      From £110 per person
Studios2Let, Cartright Gardens  From £55 per person


Above prices are approximate, subject to availability, and per room per night based on two people sharing. If you require a quote for single occupancy at any of the hotels please contact us on 01904 734 805. 

UK rail connections
UK train tickets

Buying tickets for UK train services can be a tricky business - there are so many fares to choose from, each with different rules and restrictions. As you are connecting with an international departure, we strongly recommend that you book a fully flexible ticket to ensure that should the departure times for your holiday change, your rail ticket can allow for these changes.

We can book fully-flexible UK rail tickets from your local station to join your holiday whether this be a European holiday from St Pancras or a UK holiday. The prices are competitive and tickets are not restricted to a particular train or time of day, and in most cases offer you a free choice of routes.

For an up to date quote from your local station, please ask one of our Tour Advisors.

Door to door luggage from £100
Door to door luggage from £100

Whether as an added luxury, or essential to your enjoyment of the tour, door-to-door luggage collection and delivery services can really enhance your holiday experience. Travelling across Europe by train is so much more relaxing without the burden of your suitcase, and we can help arrange for your case to be collected from home prior to the holiday and for it to be waiting for you at your first main hotel in Europe.

We are pleased to provide the services of the GRJ Luggage Concierge Service - supported by our partner The Baggage Man, offering luggage transport from as little as £100 for one suitcase and £200 for two suitcases.

Please contact us for details of this service.

This page was printed from on 10 December 2019.
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