Buses to and from La Rochelle Airport (LRH)

The airport is located approximately 2.5km from the city of La Rochelle, and along the western coastline of France. It is a small airport, handling around 200,000 passengers per annum, and is commonly referred to as the Laleu Airport, due to its location. Besides the city of La Rochelle, it also serves the island known as Ile de Ré, which is just west of the airport, and connected to the mainland by a bridge. La Rochelle buses provide a form of public transport for all passengers, and are a very convenient way to reach the city of La Rochelle, and indirectly, towns on the island of Ile de Ré. Buses are the most cost effective way to travel, and are used by many local people and tourists.

The airport of La Rochelle consists of a single terminal building and one runway, and is the largest in the Charente-Maritime department of France. It is also known to be one of the fastest growing airports in France, in terms of its percentage of increase on a yearly basis. Within the terminal, there are various facilities for arriving and departing passengers, and all areas of the airport are accessible to disabled passengers. The airport is easy to navigate, and arriving passengers will find the La Rochelle Airport buses just outside of the building. They operate at frequent times throughout the day, and travel to the city of La Rochelle, from where bus connections to all other areas are available. There is no train station at the airport, but the buses provide a link to the SNCF station in the city as well. The two bus companies of importance are the RTCR and the Les Mouettes.

The RTCR Buses

The buses are available approximately every half an hour during weekdays and on Saturdays, and there are nine bus services on Sundays. Both buses take passengers to the Place de Verdun in the city centre, as well as to the SNCF railway station known as the Ile de Ré La Rochelle Ville Station (or the Gare de La Rochelle Ville), from where trains travel to cities such as Paris, Nantes and Bordeaux. Bus tickets for the journey will cost about €1.30 (single ticket), and can be purchased from the bus driver. It is wise to have as close to the correct amount as possible, as buses often do not accept notes which require large amounts of change. Round-trip tickets may also be available.

The La Rochelle Airport buses are operated by a company known as RTCR, and they have been offering transport to residents and visitors for over thirty years. For their bus routes, ‘impersonal’ tickets can be purchased from a variety of outlets, and they can be bought as single tickets valid for an hour after they are stamped, or strips of ten tickets can be purchased, which are cheaper should you be travelling regularly. Discounts may also be available for families and disabled passengers. For disabled persons travelling in the city, RTCR provides special minibuses which are fitted to accommodate a wheelchair. Services for disabled persons should be reserved at least forty-eight hours before it is required. Additional services from this bus company include the rental of their yellow bikes, as on a bike is a wonderful way to explore the city and the amazing bike paths available nearby. Further information is available at http://www.rtcr.fr.

Disabled persons departing from La Rochelle Airport who are in need of public transport may contact Odas Transport, the airport’s transport company which specializes in the comfort of persons with reduced mobility. Their telephone number is 05 46 00 32 72, or their email address is odastransport@orange.fr. The company has a website as well, at http://www.odas-transport.com.

The Les Mouettes Buses

This bus service offers transport to all the main towns of the department, seven days a week, and operates in correspondence with the bus networks in the cities of La Rochelle, Rochefort, Saintes and Royan. Passengers arriving at La Rochelle who would like to reach the island of Ile de Ré will first need to catch a bus to the Place de Verdun, and then another from this bus network to the island. There are a few bus stops offered on the island of Ile de Ré. Details regarding these bus services are available online, at http://www.lesmouettes-transports.com.

All tickets purchased for bus journeys in La Rochelle, or for those to surrounding areas, must be validated upon boarding the bus. There are machines available which will stamp your ticket with the date and time. This is extremely important, as they could be checked at any time, and fines could be issued if you are caught without a ticket, or with a ticket which is not validated. Passengers on board buses should keep their tickets for the duration of the journey, or until it has expired. Safety belts will need to be worn as well on coaches which are fitted with such equipment.

Enquiries regarding the La Rochelle bus services can be made at the airport information desk within the terminal building, or the airport can be contacted at +33 5 46 42 86 70.