La Rochelle shopping aid

Posted: 26th March 2013.

Perth couple, Steve and Debbie took delivery of their Fountaine Pajot Salina 48 Evolution ex-factory in France last year.

This was their first trip to the Mediterranean and for the benefit of others enjoying the same experience they have documented their shopping lists, tips and experiences. We thank them for this information as we are certain it will definitely assist others undertaking the same exciting journey.

Information for fellow ‘ex-factory pickup’ clients:

Note: We did not send anything from Australia. We purchased everything in France, Spain and Portugal as we traveled. Our friends did this another way and sent 25 tea chests from Australia! France and Spain are relatively inexpensive at the moment and we have a strong dollar. We had time on our side; we were able to spend weeks making our new boat Bijoux our home. Remember that things in France take time to happen and during the day most of the smaller shops (ie chandlery’s) shut for a couple of hours for lunch. Tomorrow does not necessarily mean exactly the next day!

Also remember that July and August in La Rochelle is peak holiday time and everything is very busy.

Accommodation in La Rochelle:

Hotel St Nicholas (Inexpensive and walking distance from Marina’s.)
13 rue Sardinerie et place de la Solette
17000 La Rochelle

Ph: (33) 5 46 41 71 55

Places to Shop in La Rochelle:


Atlantic Loisirs
1 Quai Marillac
ZA port des Minimes
17032 La Rochelle Cedex

Ph: (33) 5 46 44 21 35

These guys were very handy and we set up and account through Uchimata to take advantage of one bill for VAT purposes.


For wet weather gear we purchased very expensive ocean crossing worthy gear and we have no idea whether it was good value (truth be known I don’t want to know). People have suggested the net is the best place to buy specialist gear. We are not experienced ocean crossers and are very happy with the Gil clothing. I would suggest to do homework on this and if necessary, arrange for it to be delivered to Les Minimes or Fountaine Pajot on your behalf.

General Galley/Saloon/Cabin Gear:

General Household Goods and the ‘BIG SHOP’ Bit like Kmart and Big W, Coles and Woolworths all rolled into one! Hire a car for the day and get everything!

Hyper U
Beaulieu – La Rochelle
Route de Nantes – BP 133
17285 Puilboreau Cedex

Ph: (33) 5 46 68 03 22

Kitchen and dining accessories:

Add some gorgeousness to your new boat. And in a beautiful part of La Rochelle.

Genevieve Lethu
21 Rue Dupaty
17000 La Rochelle

Ph (33) 5 46 50 55 71

I regret I did not find a good place for towels in La Rochelle. Let me know if you do and I will edit this document! I am fussy. Neither did I seek glamorous bedding, cotton sheets and doona covers serve us well, we really use this boat for sailing and living on, not show. A recommendation is to make sure you get cotton linen, blends are foul in close quarters.

If your budget allows buy fitted fly screens for the hatches, the bugs are everywhere.


There are little supermarkets and big supermarkets called Carrefour. The little ones are Carrefour City and there is one between Les Minimes and the old Marina where you will have your first delivery days. There is also one in the centre of town near the old markets. There are bigger ones called Carrefour Market. Google the nearest ones as they are really handy.

Carrefour City
33 Rue de la scierie
17000 La Rochelle

Ph: (33) 5 46 27 02 12

E LeClerc (Another supermarket chain) This is where we purchased gas refill and groceries.
124 Blvd Andre Sautel
17028 LA Rochelle

Ph: (33) 5 46 34 18 67

Sportswear and gear, Fishing Gear, Folding Bikes, Lines, pool noodles:

You name it – Huge! All in the same area as the Hyper U, Leroy Merlin. We made several trips. We recommend going to Decathlon first then go to specialist Chandleries.

ZAC Beaulieu 2
2 Rue de Belgique
17138 Puilboreau

Ph: (33) 5 46 68 00 00


Sikaflex, cleaning, chemicals, tools, bit like Bunnings. Awesome!

Leroy Merlin
Open 7am – 8pm



Dictionaries! Trust me you will need one/some. Remember the word for bookshop is librairie (these are not libraries!) This is in the old part of La Rochelle, really gorgeous stone buildings.

24 Rue Chaudrier
17000 La Rochelle

Our Shopping List:

I was uncertain exactly what we would need to completely set up a yacht ready to set sail. Feel free to download this 12 page word document with our shopping list which includes kitchen equipment, general supplies, food, chandlery items, stationary, pharmacy etc. I have translated it through “google translate” (so it is not perfect) but will certainly help when you are trying to ask French shop assistants for help.

Helpful contacts:

  • Uchimata
  • Pierre Menardon

Talk to Patrick and Mark from Multihull Solutions about these blokes for aftermarket work. We developed effective relationship, very reliable and great English.

Some Observations:

On our travels we have found that the excellent department store El Corte Ingles (Spanish they are not in La Rochelle, but La Coruna and Portugal ) will handle many purchases in many departments. Using a voucher system, they do one bill in their administration office. Then everything is delivered to your boat same day. Perfect. Possible

A great guide to travelling the coast of France, Spain and Portugal is cheaply downloaded as a PDF from the website of Michael E Briant, an English expat resident of La Rochelle with decades of sailing knowledge. As novice cruisers we felt more confident from reading these two PDFS/books.

  • Strait Sailing to Gibraltar
  • Sail Gently to the Med

Very valuable information from Active Captain website (note no good on ipad – needs flash) Many cruisers update info on their travels; providing necessary details on almost any anchorage and marina.

We found that if you have a really good understanding of how to greet people and say thanks, please and hi, and in particular ‘I am an Australian’, you receive great, great service from the French, they were really great to us. Some little ancient and not so ancient problems with the English and surprisingly the American visitors! I made some tremendous blunders with my schoolgirl French, but the trying was appreciated! We had not traveled before so if I sound naive it is because I am!

I suppose if I can pass on any gems of wisdom it might be

  1. Patience – you will know what I mean.
  2. Do not have a going away party the night before you plan to leave.
  3. Try and sail the Northern coast of Spain, it is really quite beautiful.

Enjoy and happy sailing!

Steve and Debbie

PS: Patrick from Multihull Solutions has also added these contacts for Bed Linen:

Contact us
Multihull Solutions

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Click here for our office locations and phone details

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