Life in the heart of France
15th May 2012
La Rochelle Mini-break
A trip to the seaside, just two days, by train. We planned this trip ages ago with Polly & Colin but sadly they weren't able to come. But we wanted to try out the plan, and if it all worked out, we'd come again with them.
We caught the train from Le Dorat at 7:30am, going to Poitiers where we had a 20-minute wait (just time to gulp down an espresso) for the TGV fast train to La Rochelle, arriving in the seaside town at around 10:30am just in time for coffee and a croissant overlooking the harbour.
I'd chosen a hotel right in the middle of the old town, for easy access to shops and restaurants, but on a quiet side street that allowed a peaceful night's sleep.
The building was once lived in by François the first king of France after whom it was named and it was elegant and clean and extremely comfortable. A double room was just 70€ a night; the beds comfortable and the shower good and hot, the two most important things in a hotel, in my opinion.
La Rochelle is full of beautiful buildings, the town itself dating back to the 10th century. Above from left: the tower of the Town Hall, mostly under scaffolding and renovation; the square in front of the town hall; the Town Clock atop the 14th century town gate, seen from the Rue du Palais; an impressive statue in the Place des Petits Bancs; (left) the Town Clock tower seen from the harbour side.
Left: A short walk along the Esplanade brought us to the Tour de la Lanterne, the last medieval lighthouse of the Atlantic coast, with a truly impressive gothic spire. In front, a globe of bronze featuring all the French dominions around the world.
Above: the Chain Tower and St. Nicolas Tower at the entrance to the harbour.