The 7 most beautiful walks around La Rochelle

Le tour de la Pointe du Chay

Sailing, cycling and hiking in La Rochelle are just some of the activities you can enjoy at your own pace, while discovering the city’s surroundings, the beautiful coastline of the Pertuis d’Antioche and its islands.

Around La Rochelle, the Atlantic coast is superb and criss-crossed with numerous hiking trails. So many beautiful walks designed to breathe in the fresh, iodized air, straight from the ocean.

On generally flat terrain, as hilly terrain is not a Charente-Maritime speciality, the walks around La Rochelle range from short easy strolls to beautiful day hikes, without ever reaching high levels of difficulty: outings for everyone, even the youngest.

Thanks to the oceanic climate, hiking around La Rochelle is possible all year round: the ideal season is from May to October, when you can’t resist the pleasure of getting into the water at the turn of a beach… Out of season, the coast is emptier and the trails are quieter, so rain gear, a windbreaker and good shoes are all you need for hiking in all weathers.

1. Facing the Pertuis d’Antioche des Minimes in Aytré

Minimes à Aytré

Photo credit : Alltrails

  • Running time: approx. 2 hours 20 minutes
  • Distance: 10.1 km
  • Height difference: 88 m
  • Difficulty: easy
  • See the route

We start with a great classic among La Rochelle hikes, a long loop linking Les Minimes to Aytré, via the coast, the marshes and Europe’s largest marina. Most of the route runs along the sea, with several beaches to stop at along the way, as well as renovated carrelets and their large nets.

Offshore, you’ll seeÎle de Ré,Île d’Oléron, Île d’Aix and Fort Boyard, while the sails of yachtsmen dot the horizon of the Pertuis d’Antioche. A breath of fresh sea air is guaranteed along the way!

There’s a choice of departure points, and you can even set off directly from the town center. What’s more, it’s easy to tailor the length of your hike to your needs, with the option of taking the TER train from Aytré to La Rochelle.

2. Crossing the Ile de Ré bridge

La traversée du pont de l'île de Ré

Photo credit : Alltrails

  • Duration: approx. 2 hours
  • Distance: 9.3 km
  • Height difference: 47 m
  • Difficulty: easy
  • See the route

The nearby Ile de Ré offers many opportunities for hiking around La Rochelle. To fill your lungs with the fresh sea air, crossing the bridge linking Ile de Ré to the mainland is an excellent, easy round-trip option. By car, it takes 15 minutes to reach Belvédère, the starting point for this route, but the journey can also be made by city bus, or by bike.

The itinerary could not be simpler: you cross the bridge, which offers a beautiful view of the Côte Rochelaise and Ré, to reach the pretty sandy beach of Sablanceaux. It’s the perfect place to take a break, swim in the sea or picnic in the shade of a cypress tree, to extend the day before turning back and taking the bridge in the opposite direction.

A magnificent sunset stroll.

3. The Rivedoux loop

randonnées La Rochelle : La boucle de Rivedoux

Photo credit : Alltrails

  • Running time: approx. 2 hours 20 minutes
  • Distance: 10.5 km
  • Height difference: 78 m
  • Difficulty: easy
  • See the route

Let’s take advantage of our stay on the Ile de Ré to linger a while, with another beautiful hike around La Rochelle. The starting point for this route is Sablanceaux, where the previous one ends: those with a bit of extra energy will be able to combine the two.

The path skirts the long sandy beach, then passes under a canopy of fragrant maritime pines. At low tide, don’t hesitate to walk on the wet sand, even if it means taking off your shoes and getting your feet a little wet.

Then don’t miss the fork in the road that takes you through woods and fields, with a hike that takes on accents of the rétaise countryside to reach the village of Rivedoux. Here, the coastal walk with its backdrop of oyster beds takes you back to your starting point by another route.

4. The Pointe du Chay tour

Le tour de la Pointe du Chay

Photo credit : Alltrails

  • Running time: approx. 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Distance: 5.8 km
  • Height difference: 41 m
  • Difficulty: easy
  • See the route

There are several ways to reach the starting point of this hike around La Rochelle. It takes 20 minutes by car to get to Angoulin, and not much longer if you cycle along the coast, before exploring the Pointe du Chay on foot. By TER, it’s even more convenient: 8 minutes from La Rochelle to Angoulin station.

This short, easy hike takes you through landscapes that are truly typical of the region: marshes, oyster farms and oyster beds, before returning to the seaside with its beaches (Aytré beach and Angoulin beach) and limestone cliffs.

These make up the Pointe du Chay, offering pleasant views of the open sea along the way.

5. Châtelaillon and Les Boucholeurs via the coastal walk

randonnées La Rochelle : Marais

Photo credit : Alltrails

  • Running time: approx. 1 hour 50 minutes
  • Distance: 8.2 km
  • Height difference: 64 m
  • Difficulty: easy
  • See the route

Once again, this hike around La Rochelle is essentially by the sea: it’s because of the ocean that we stay here! On this loop trail, we start from the large beach at Châtelaillon, a seaside resort just 25 minutes from La Rochelle, either by TER or by car.

To cope with the risk of flooding on stormy days, the entire coastline has been redesigned as a long promenade protected by a seawall. Once you’ve passed the little port of Châtelaillon, you’ll come to Les Boucholeurs. This small village with its coquettish center and café terraces precedes the more chaotic-looking oyster-farming areas, but not without charm for those who appreciate them.

It’s not unusual to see oyster farmers at work along the way. The route ends with the Marais d’Yves bird sanctuary in sight, before retracing your steps.

6. From Rivedoux to Saint-Martin-de-Ré

Rivedoux

Photo credit : Alltrails

  • Duration: approx. 2 hours 45 minutes
  • Distance: 11.9 km
  • Height difference: 90 m
  • Difficulty: easy
  • See the route

Another lovely hike around La Rochelle, set on the Ile de Ré. Only a 20-minute drive away, and with bus connections directly from La Rochelle, it would be a shame to miss out!

We start this route in the village of Rivedoux, the first on the island. The walking route skirts the large bay, criss-crossed by oyster beds, before passing through fields to catch up with the coastal path on the Pertuis Breton side. On a clear day, the Baie de l’Aiguillon and the Vendée coastline are clearly visible.

The linear route follows the coastline past the ruined Abbaye des Châteliers, before reaching the charming port of La Flotte and its typical Ré atmosphere. The tour can end there and back, or continue along the coast to Saint-Martin, the « capital » of the Ile de Ré, with its harbour and shopping streets. Frequent buses take you back to the starting point.

7. Along the Rompsay canal

randonnées La Rochelle : Au fil du canal de Rompsay

Photo credit : Alltrails

  • Duration: approx. 2 hours
  • Distance: 9 km
  • Height difference: 44 m
  • Difficulty: easy
  • See the route

The Canal de Rompsay is a veritable green corridor stretching 24 km from La Rochelle to Marans. Enough, therefore, to tailor your walking itinerary around La Rochelle to your mood of the day, from a leisurely stroll to a longer outing.

Along the Rompsay canal, you won’t encounter any difficulties: everything is flat and peaceful, wooded and shady, ideal for observing the environment around you… Be careful, though, to watch where you put your feet as you pass through the Saint-Léonard tunnel, which is quite impressive!

The return journey takes an identical route, but along the other bank of the canal for variety.