Table 292: Nantes – La Rochelle – Bordeaux

PART 1

In our first table of the month for 2020 we travel through Western France from Nantes to Bordeaux a total travel journey time of around 4 hours and 10 minutes and a distance of 275 kilometres.

Located on the Loire river, Nantes is renowned for its splendid scenery and is the sixth largest city in France. A lively and innovative city with historical heritage.

At the heart of the town lies the magnificent Château des Ducs de Bretagne, home to the fascinating History Museum of Nantes displaying over 850 historic objects in a modern layout. The château’s grassy moat gardens and rampart walk are free to meander and offer great viewpoints of the fortress.

Another highlight is Les Machines de l’Ile, the machines of the isle of Nantes. The Grand Éléphant is 12 metres tall and takes 52 passengers for a ride on its back. Also discover the Carrousel des Mondes Marins and the Arbre aux Hérons with ramps and stairways in the form of a tree.

Take time out and walk through the streets and discover the Old City of Nantes with regular markets held most Sunday mornings.

PART 2

Please note: Due to engineering works between La Roche sur Yon and La Rochelle trains are replaced by buses until May 29 2021.

Continuing our journey south and covering a distance of 180 kilometres we travel from Nantes to La Rochelle-Ville station situated near the Old Port. Rail services include TGV, Intercities, TER Poitou-Charentes and TER Pays de la Loire, operated by SNCF.

La Rochelle is a historic port town off the Atlantic coast in the department of Charente-Maritime. The perfect city for a weekend break and a great base to explore the area. Rich in culture and architecture, with lots to see and do.

Just outside the station you will find the Aquarium, one of France’s top tourist attractions. Explore its abundance of marine life including sharks, turtles, jelly fish and varied fauna. Also around the Old Port you will find the famous Towers of La Rochelle, The Saint Nicolas Tower, The Chain Tower and The Lantern Tower. Climb the towers to get fabulous views over the city, port and sea. Take a walk along the narrow streets of the old town, packed with interesting mansions, Renaissance residences, and old timber-framed houses, along with numerous shops, cafés and restaurants.

After a busy day exploring, take a break and relax on the beaches of La Rochelle in Les Minimes.

PART 3

Please note: Due to engineering works between La Roche sur Yon and La Rochelle trains are replaced by buses until May 29 2021.

This week we are exploring beautiful Bordeaux.

Travelling from La Rochelle sit on the right of the train for views of the coastline. The journey follows the river Charente and on the approach to Bordeaux you cross the Dordogne and Garonne rivers. Bordeaux-Saint-Jean station is centrally located in Bordeaux with easy access to high-speed TGV trains from Paris and Lille and services to Biarritz and Hendaye, the final station in France before the line crosses into Spain.

Bordeaux is a vibrant city, home to some of the world’s most famous wines, with fantastic restaurants, charming architecture and culture.
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Most of the principal attractions are located in, or close to, the old city area, these include the Gothic Cathédrale Saint-André with breathtaking views over Old Bordeaux. The Miroir d’Eau (water mirror), a spectacular pool in which the buildings of the grand Place de la Bourse are reflected. Not forgetting one of the most iconic buildings in Bordeaux, La Cité du Vin, a cultural centre dedicated to the heritage of wine.

PART 4

This week we are looking at just a few options for possible day trips along the route.

From Nantes head north to Le Croisic (Table 288) a charming seaside resort with its picturesque fishing port, its church of flamboyant Gothic style, as well as beautiful old houses.

Les Sables-d’Olonne (Table 293) is a pretty seaside town with lively promenades, long golden sandy beaches and a large marina. It is also host to the Vendée Globe yacht race (November 8, 2020).

Take a detour to Ile de Ré an island off the west coast connected to La Rochelle via a three kilometre bridge, it offers beautiful sandy beaches, vineyards and idilic villages.

Other options include the city of Poitiers, steeped in history, with a mix of galleries, restaurants and cafes (Table 300). In Bergerac (Table 318) you will find a medieval old town with chateaux, museums and lovely streets to explore with boutique style shops. Angoulême (Table 301), famous for the National Comic Strip and Image Centre, is a must for comic strip fans.

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