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There is a small airport that services La Rochelle and the neighboring Île de Ré, located about 6km from the city center. Ryanair, Easyjet, Flybe and other airlines offer regular flights to more than 80 destinations and sixteen countries, mostly in Western Europe and the United Kingdom. Once at the airport, there is regular bus service between there and La Rochelle centre. Buses begin around 0630 am and end towards 8 pm. Buses run every 30 minute on weekdays and Saturdays but only every 80 minutes on Sundays and Holidays. Bus fare is €1,30. The stop is located outside the airport building about 50 yards walk. Buses run to Place de Verdun, the central bus station. The website for full details is http://yelo.agglo-larochelle.fr/accueil which is only in French.
There is NO bus service on the Labour Day holiday, May 1st.
There is also car rental available at the airport
There are no direct buses from the airpot to the Île de Ré except for a limited service in the evenings. See http://www.lesmouettes-transports.com/ for details, which is in English and French.
Another option is flying into Paris and then taking France's high-speed train known as the TGV. There are direct trains to La Rochelle from Paris's Montparnasse train station that take about two and a half to three hours and cost between 60 and 80 euros for a full fare. This may, in fact, be cheaper than flying directly to La Rochelle, although it takes more time. You can book train tickets online at www.voyages-sncf.com or http://www.capitainetrain.com and then pick them up once in France.
Direct long distance trains also run to La Rochelle from Lille, Nantes and Bordeaux thus affording connections from almost anywhere in France, in fact most of Europe.
Alternatively if coming from the UK (London) try the Eurostar and then get the TGV, a fantastic service and not as expensive as you might think (about £120 return)
By Bus (coach)
There are no long distance buses (coaches) to or from La Rochelle.
If you are driving from elsewhere in France, La Rochelle is easily reachable via France's large and modern highway system. Be aware, however, that all of France's major highways are toll roads, and tolls can be expensive.