Trains to and from La Rochelle Airport (LRH)
La Rochelle Airport is otherwise known as the Laleu, and has the official code of LRH. It is located very nearby to the city of La Rochelle, famous for its beautiful ‘Old Harbour’ area and well-preserved old town, as well as to the island of Ile de Ré, found just west of La Rochelle. It is the largest airport in the Charente-Maritime department of France, but only handles around 200,000 passengers per year. However, it offers a variety of facilities for passengers, and a couple of options for transport, although there is no airport train station. Trains are a very valuable form of transport in France, and therefore, buses from the the airport provide a link to the La Rochelle railway station.
The airport is approximately 2.5km from La Rochelle, and is accessed by the N237 highway. There is also a bridge which links the island of Ile de Ré to the mainland, and this road leads directly to the main airport highway. In general, the airport is well connected by bus services and taxis, but there is no train station on the airport grounds. Smaller airports in France, such as La Rochelle, seldom have the facilities of a train station. However, there are usually bus connections to the nearest railway station, for passengers who either arrive in the city by train, and who need to reach the airport, or for passengers who have arrived at the airport and who would like to continue their journey by train. All the major cities in the country are connected by high-speed railway services, and there are a couple of regional train services which support the local areas as well, from each train station.
For passengers arriving at La Rochelle Airport, there are public buses available, which depart from outside the single terminal building. They are a frequent bus service, offering transport approximately every half an hour, and travel to the Place de Verdun in the city centre, with stops at the SNCF railway station as well. The buses are very inexpensive, as a single ticket will only cost €1.30. Tickets for the bus can be purchased from the bus driver. The bus company operating the transport services from La Rochelle is known as the RTCR, and have thirty years of experience in their business.
The La Rochelle Ville Train Station
Close to the heart of La Rochelle city, at Place Pierre Sémard, is the Gare de La Rochelle Ville, or the La Rochelle Railway Station. It can also be referred to as the Ile de Ré La Rochelle Ville Station, as it serves the people of Ile de Ré Island as well, since the island has no train station. Similarly, La Rochelle Airport serves the island’s inhabitants and visitors as well. The opening hours of the train station are as follows: Monday to Thursday, and on Saturday – 05:00 to 23:30, Friday – 05:00 to 00:45 and on Sundays and public holidays – 06:40 to 23:45.
It is possible to travel to and from the railway station by the local bus services or by taxis. Buses and taxis will collect their passengers from outside the main station building. There are generally always taxis available, but the buses will run according to a schedule. There are also direct bus services from the station to Ile de Ré, and the journey will take about half an hour. Facilities for passengers at the La Rochelle Ville Station include a grocery shop, open from 07:00 to 20:00 on weekdays and Saturdays and from 07:30 on Sundays and public holidays, and a take-away, selling various food items. Their hours are similar to that of the grocery store, except that they open a bit earlier on weekdays. There is a lost property office, and information on tourism is provided from an office outside the station as well. Luggage trolleys are available, but there are no special baggage services. Disabled passengers travelling on the rail services are recommended to arrive at the station about half an hour before their train leaves should extra assistance be required. Wheelchairs and boarding ramps can be provided.
The La Rochelle Train Station receives trains from Paris every day, and there are also trains which travel to the cities of Bordeaux, Nantes, Poitiers and other regional destinations. The journey from La Rochelle to Paris is provided by the high-speed TGV services, and will take approximately three hours. There are about nine trains to Paris every day. An advanced reservation is required for long-distance journeys on the TGV trains, but all regional tickets can be purchased on the day of travel. There are automated machines nearby the train platforms, or the tickets can be purchased from the sales offices at the railway stations. Train tickets will need to be validated (stamped) in the machines on the platform as well, before you board the train.
Although there is no airport train station, passengers of the airport will find it easy to connect with the train services of the city. Further details can be acquired from the information desk within the terminal building of the airport.