Call to book01904 521 936
Tour Search
Please call

La Rochelle & France's Southwest Coast

Please call
Image gallery
(Tour code: ROS19)

Discover a myriad of fascinating maritime curiosities

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.

  • Guided tour of La Rochelle
  • Walking tour of Rochefort
  • Visit to Maison Boinaud Cognac house
  • Île de Ré
  • Visit to Chateliers Abbey
  • Journey on the Les Train des Mouettes
What’s Included
  • First Class Rail
    Eurostar Standard Premier
    Eurostar Meals
  • 4* Hotel Accommodation
    Breakfast Every Day
    Selected Evening Meals
    1 Lunch
  • Free time in St-Martin-de-Ré

La Rochelle & France's Southwest Coast 2019Tour Details

Print Itinerary
Days 1-2 La Rochelle
La Rochelle

Discovering 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 1 - Eurostar Meal, Dinner
  • Day 2 - Breakfast
Day 3 Corderie Royale In Rochefort
Corderie Royale In Rochefort

Rochefort and Cognac

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.

  • Breakfast, Lunch
Days 4-5 Saint Martin de Re
Saint Martin de Re

Île de Ré

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 4 - Breakfast
  • Day 5 - Breakfast
Day 6 Train des Mouettes
Train des Mouettes

Les 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.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 7 Eurostar

Return to London

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

  • Breakfast
  • Eurostar Meal

Departure Times

Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be found together with our dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. We write to all booked customers approximately 10 weeks prior to the start of their tour to advise the exact departure and return time for their particular group.

What’s included

An escorted experience and all travel arrangements

  • The services of a professional UK Tour Manager from start to finish
  • Exclusive meeting point at our dedicated Departure Office in St Pancras
  • First Class rail travel throughout (Standard Premier Class on Eurostar journeys with a light meal and drinks)
  • All coach transfers

Comfortable accommodation in your destination

  • 6 nights' hotel accommodation at the 4-Star Masqhotel La Rochelle

Delicious meals included

  • 9 meals including 6 breakfasts, 1 lunch and 2 dinners including a farewell dinner in La Rochelle

Exciting excursions and free time to explore

  • Guided tour of La Rochelle
  • Walking tour of Rochefort
  • Visit to Maison Boinaud Cognac house with an included tasting
  • Excursion to Île de Ré with a visit to Chateliers Abbey and free time in St-Martin-de-Ré
  • Journey on the Les Train des Mouettes to Tremblade, with free time

Not Included

  • Cancellation & Travel Insurance is not included in the price of the tour but can be arranged.


Please note: This tour may be suitable for reduced mobility passengers, please call for further information.

Luke Simpson
Lynne Broadley
Helen Laverack
La Rochelle & France's Southwest Coast

Discover a myriad of fascinating maritime curiosities


Europe & UK by Rail 2020

The definitive guide to our 2020 summer & winter rail holidays to a wide range of destinations in Europe.

Order Brochure
GRJ Independent

Tailor make this tour with Great Rail Journeys Independent

Click to enquire