La Rochelle

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La Rochelle: a city close to everything

It is easy to appreciate its beautiful landscapes as well as how close it is to some of France’s biggest cities. At the end of the day we rarely ask ourselves “what to do?” in La Rochelle, but more “what to choose?” Let’s take a look at all the activities available only 3 hours away from the “White City”.
La Rochelle immediately charms you with its architecture, its geographical location, its climate and its atmosphere. In addition, there is the Old Port with its towers standing guard over the maritime entrance to the city. And don’t forget Saint-Nicolas district, the central market and the many medieval arcaded streets. The local region, Charente-Maritime, is also a firm favourite with tourists, offering a multitude of places to visit including its three islands: Île de Ré, Île d’Oléron and Île d’Aix.
Let’s take a look at all the activities available only 3 hours away from the “White City”.

Explore La Rochelle by bike 

explore la rochelle by bikeLa Rochelle is a must for cycling enthusiasts. The city has over 143 miles of bike paths making it an extraordinary playground for those who enjoy exploring cities by bike. For your eyes’ greatest pleasure, delve into the old town and its winding streets, alone or with friends!  

Whether you go for a stroll near the Old Port, by the beach or in one of the city’s many parks, you will appreciate the peacefulness of a warm and enjoyable living environment. There are many sights to see: Charruyer Park, Saint-Louis Cathedral, Concurrence beach, Marans Canal… Charente-Maritime and its glorious landscapes will hold many surprises for you. 





A city close to several metropolises

a city close to several metropolisesOne of the great advantages of La Rochelle is that it is a medium-sized city close to several metropolises. Not more than 3 hours is needed to reach one of the major surrounding cities. Attracted to the capital and its iconic Eiffel Tower? 2 hours and 40 minutes on the high-speed train will get you fully immersed in the Parisian charm and atmosphere. Interested in visiting Tours and the magnificent castles of the Loire Valley? Only 148 miles separate La Rochelle from Tours, roughly 2 hours and 20 minutes’ drive, which is almost the same distance between La Rochelle and Rennes, home to the famous Museum of Brittany.

For slightly closer destinations, Nantes and Bordeaux are ideal cities. They are accessible by car in less than 2 hours and make for great weekend getaways outside of La Rochelle!



An airport with many destinations

La Rochelle - Ile de Ré airport offers a decent amount of domestic and international flights. Therefore, it will only take you a few hours to reach the biggest cities in France such as Marseille, Lyon, Nice, Ajaccio or even Paris!

Direct international flights are also available if you wish to discover other European countries. You can savor a delicious bowl of fries in Brussels, drink tea in one of the English cities accessible via La Rochelle (Leeds, London, Bristol and Manchester), take a dip in Porto, feast on chocolate in Geneva and celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin. An itinerary to try out immediately!

Thanks to its countless activities, you will never get bored in La Rochelle. Close to the country’s biggest cities, this pretty corner of Charente-Maritime is the perfect place to spend a few months (or more !) in France. And if you wish to explore further territories, many flights will take you to several European countries in no time. Therefore, La Rochelle is a city that you can explore with pleasure and curiosity, without ever getting tired of it!

La Rochelle: a dynamic city

A remarkable quality of life, a multidisciplinary campus, a historic city centre, beaches... all the essential ingredients which combine to attract more and more students each year. With a cultural dynamism and highly active clubs, associations and voluntary organisations, La Rochelle and Excelia will offer you both rich and creative experiences.

La Rochelle: a rich cultural life

FrancofoliesAs a student in La Rochelle, you cannot fail to miss the many cultural sites spread around the city such as La Sirène music venue. This disused former warehouse was fully restored and is now entirely dedicated to contemporary music, offering a concert hall, with an eclectic programme and rehearsal studios open even to amateurs (by prior reservation). In an industrial setting, that lends a certain unusual charm to the venue, you will discover some real musical treasures

If you are passionate about music, make sure you don’t miss the famous Francofolies festival which takes place every year in July near the Historic Port. In an incredible setting, the entire French music scene thrills the city and its 150,000 festival-goers. Five days of concerts, dozens of artists, a festive atmosphere!

Would you like to find out more about all the cultural events taking place in and around La Rochelle? Well then the Pass’Culture will give you access to more than 200 shows at reduced prices! The card is free of charge for students under 30 years of age and you can get one by registering online or by going directly to the Maison de l’étudiant. The Pass'Culture is indispensable for the following events:

  • Francofolies music festival
  • International Film Festival
  • Festival of TV Fiction
  • International Adventure Film Festival
  • Jazz Festival
  • Sunny side of the doc - documentary
  • Grand Pavois In-water Boat Show

Water sports: clubs and associations

water sports La RochelleLa Rochelle is renowned and internationally recognised for its nautical activities and every year thousands of visitors flock to its boat show Le Grand Pavois (Europe's leading in-water boat show). Located on the Atlantic Ocean, the city and its surroundings benefit not only from beautiful beaches, but also from a mild and temperate climate that makes it an ideal playground for both professionals and amateurs. Whether you are interested in sailing, kitesurfing, stand up paddle boarding, boating or jet skiing, you will find many clubs and associations that offer specific courses or lessons.

For water lovers, you should also know that within Excelia, each year, the Nautical Games association organises an inter-school nautical competition day: an event not to be missed!




A dynamic job-creating economy

As part of New Aquitaine, the largest region in France, the conurbation of La Rochelle combines a dynamic economy with the ability to continually generate employment. From the boating industry to the food-processing industry, from digital technology companies to communication, tourism or transport companies… the local economy is made up of more than 12 000 companies and public organisations. Offering the best chances for success and excellent professional prospects to all students, both French and international, La Rochelle is a great city to live in and to study in.

A safe and pleasant city

La Rochelle has cultivated the art of living together and strives to reinforce a sense of solidarity between its citizens. In today’s world, with increasing tensions between different communities and a volatile international scene, La Rochelle remains a peaceful city where there is a strong feeling of safety and security.

La Rochelle: a student city

La Rochelle achieved first place in the category ‘Medium size cities’ and came second in the criteria ‘Attractiveness’ thanks in particular to the significant increase in student numbers over the past 10 years*.  As a naturally beautiful city and a city that has been a pioneer for many years, La Rochelle is also popular thanks to its university campus of which the Group is one of main figureheads. In addition, Charente-Maritime was voted the second most popular ‘département’ by the French**. 

Excelia was established almost thirty years ago in the Minimes area of the city, an environment which offers ideal study conditions for students, year after year. In addition, this attractive environment has also encouraged many start-ups to choose the Minimes as their base. Located near the biggest pleasure port in France, the student campus comprises 19 different higher education establishments with some 14 000 students. With an ever-increasing population, this area of the city is home to a wide variety of different study programmes and courses… an ideal location for the connected generation.

* Ranking of Student Cities 2018 L’Etudiant
** Study undertaken by Kantar TNS, June 2018

Associations and artistic workshops for students

Associations ExceliaWith its 50 Clubs & Associations, Excelia offers you the opportunity to live unforgettable experiences that will certainly leave their mark on your student life. Incorporated into each programme, involvement in these associations is a key part of your education. It will not only allow you to acquire essential business skills, but also to develop on a personal level. Whether you are attracted by media, art, sport or humanitarian work, you will undoubtedly find exactly what you are looking for! Contact the Bureau Des Étudiants, who will provide you with all the essential information.

In addition, don’t forget to visit the Maison de l’étudiant. With its auditorium, exhibition space and rehearsal room, the Espace Culture (cultural space) encourages creativity and offers all students free cultural and artistic workshops.




A lively and welcoming City... a great place for going out!

La sirèneTo welcome its students, every year Communauté d’Agglomération de La Rochelle (La Rochelle conurbation) organises La Rochelle Student Bay in partnership with the University, La Sirène, EIGSI and Excelia. The catchword: conviviality! An excellent way to give you a foretaste of what La Rochelle is all about!

If you like going out for a drink or to party, one area is particularly popular with students... the Historic Port. With its charming little terraces, its multitude of small restaurants and friendly bars, you will undoubtedly enjoy many special moments here!

Amongst the places that have proved a hit with students are La Guignette, a real La Rochelle institution, and the Belle du Gabut, with its open-air café atmosphere... two unmissable places for a memorable time with friends!




SUAPSE: sport at the heart of the university

With SUAPSE, the University of La Rochelle offers its students more than 40 sporting activities. As an Excelia student you will have access to this service, you simply need to register on the app to obtain your membership card and choose the activity that interests you most from those on offer, such as handball, basketball, climbing, swimming, weight training, sea rowing, dancing, rugby... let your imagination run wild!

During the university academic year, SUAPSE brings students together through the numerous sporting events that it organises. ‘Green Day’, volleyball night, badminton night and the end-of-year cruise are all events in which you can participate, in a warm and friendly atmosphere.

La Rochelle
Ile de Ré
La Rochelle


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