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La Rochelle and France's Southwest Coast


Discover a myriad of fascinating maritime curiosities

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2019 Tour code: ROS19


Days 1-2 - Discovering La Rochelle

Meet your group and Tour Manager 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 traveling along the seafront. Afterwards we continue on foot, exploring the city's medieval center.

  • Day 1 - Eurostar Meal, Dinner
  • Day 2 - Breakfast
La Rochelle
Day 3 - 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.

  • Breakfast, Lunch
Corderie Royale In Rochefort
Days 4-5 - 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 harbor. 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.

  • Day 4 - Breakfast
  • Day 5 - Breakfast
Saint Martin de Re
Day 6 - Les Train des Mouettes

Traveling 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
Train des Mouettes
Day 7 - Return to London

We take the train back to Paris, joining the Eurostar service to London on arrival you tour concludes and you are free to make your way home.

  • Breakfast
  • Eurostar Meal