France road trip: La Rochelle, Cognac and the Atlantic coast islands

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Great seafood, Roman remains and a pine-fringed, cycle-friendly island are among the highlights of this leisurely paced two-week route
See the Perpignan and Spanish border, and Lyon to Nice road trips

La Rochelle is a lively, sparkling seaside town with a great reputation for seafood, three urban beaches and the best vieux port on the French Atlantic. Spend a day strolling under the arcades of the rue du Palais, exploring the maritime museum, and the aquarium, open until 11pm in the summer. Spend the late afternoon watching the pleasure boats and the evening on the seafront, eating a platter of shellfish. Sleep at Des Tours à La Rochelle, a family-run chambres d’hôtes with a pool, five minutes’ drive from the centre (doubles from €75 B&B, each named after one of La Rochelle’s medieval stone towers).

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