Fountaine Pajot Factory Tour and Paris Boat Show, December 5-13 2015

Paris Boat Show
ACY President Chris Bent (far right) celebrating at the Paris Boat Show with Jean Francois Fountaine (center) and three new Fountaine Pajot owners and their families.

I just returned from another fabulous week in France at the Paris Boat Show and the Fountaine Pajot factory in the beautiful port of La Rochelle. This year, we traveled with three new owners, all of whom had the opportunity to see their new boats rolling off the assembly line and being launched at the port. We even got to follow a new Helia 44 on top of a special truck with a tilting bed, as it navigated the tight roads and villages along the route from the factory to the port. We captured this remarkable journey on video.

For 2015, we’ll do a similar trip with owners or those with a boat on order. The trip includes a factory celebration, dinner in Paris, train trip to visit the factory in La Rochelle, and a wine tour on the way back to Paris. For more information or to sign up, contact us! Tell us your boat of interest and write PARIS SHOW in the message box.

After a visit to the Paris Boat Show and a champagne toast with founder Jean Francois Fountaine, we had a wonderful dinner in Paris and enjoyed a beautiful boutique hotel on the left bank, one of my favorites. We set out on the high speed TGV train for La Rochelle, an incredibly smooth three-hour ride at speeds of 150-180 mph. Arriving in La Rochelle, we explored this amazing medieval port city with its superb restaurants, waterfront cafes, and high-end shops. Another outstanding dinner that evening at the famous Bar Andre seafood restaurant with local oysters, fresh local fish and lobster, and, of course, many bottles of great local wine.

The next day, we visited the Fountaine Pajot factory and followed Kim and Dana’s new Helia from the factory to the port on top of the specially designed catamaran transport truck. The truck has a titling bed that can turn the boat on its ear to navigate the tight streets and turns along the route to the port. Watch the video.

We spent several hours learning about the construction methods used by Fountaine Pajot and had the opportunity to see all the boats in each phase of construction from lamination, deck joining, fitting out and completion, and testing. All of the new owners enjoyed being able to photo document the boats in the early stages of construction. This allowed them to see where wiring and pluming connections run throughout the boat, before the floors and cabinetry are installed.

The following day, I arranged a special visit to the wine town of Saint Emilion in the Bordeaux region, just two hours south of La Rochelle. If you love yachts and wine, this part of France is as good as it gets. Benoit, my friend from the wine shop ETS Martin, had arranged very special tours and tastings at Chateau Figeac, a Premier Classe Grand Cru estate just outside of town, and Couvent de Jacobins, a beautiful estate with amazing cellars right inside town.

We tasted some fantastic wines afterward in Benoit’s cellar surrounded by some of the finest wines in the world. We all purchased some of our favorites and had Benoit ship us several cases to enjoy this winter. We are eagerly awaiting ours! We also learned a great deal about the passion for wine in this renowned wine region.

On Thursday, we all headed our separate ways, with Kim staying behind to join the delivery crew of his Helia 44 for the crossing from La Rochelle to Annapolis. We will follow his adventures in separate posts…check back!


Eric Smith

Senior Sales Consultant, Partner
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