La Rochelle

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La Rochelle is the capital of the Charente Maritime and is the largest and busiest and most cosmopolitan city in the area with hundreds of restaurants and shops. It is an historic port on the Bay of Biscay and definitely worth a visit. Although it is not far, around 45 minutes drive (ignore the ring road and travel directly in towards the railway station, taking a left at the station to the old port), it can be busy and take some time to find a place to park.