In 2 visits to St Pierre in recent years we have found the eastern approach,between the Nord Est SPM buoy and Ile aux Pigeons, to be heavily encumbered with lobster pots and fishing nets with floating lines between them only just below the surface. Whilst it is relatively straightforward to avoid these during the day, approach at night or in very poor visibility would be an altogether different proposition. Under such conditions if approaching from the east we would recommend passing well to the north of the Nord Est SPM buoy before turning south west to head into the harbour, favouring the St Pierre side of the channel as this seems to be clearer of pots.
If arriving during normal working hours, once inside the harbour you can expect to get visited by both customs officials and the Gendarmes but the whole procedure is very friendly and relaxed. When arriving over a holiday period we were simply told to fill in a form and deposit it in the box outside the customs office on the main quay.
The harbour master may allow you to lie alongside the main quay, close to where the high speed ferries berth, for which there is no charge. However there are no facilities here and this quay is not particularly yacht friendly unless you have large fenders and a substantial fender board. Most yachts will prefer to go alongside the sailing centre a little further in the harbour. There is an overnight charge of 3 euros per meter, but the facilities are excellent with electricity (240V), fresh water and wifi available on the jetty, and toilets/showers/launderette in the sailing centre building.
Europhiles looking for a change from the type of fare available in the standard North American food supermarket will be in shopping heaven in St Pierre. St Pierre is more French than many parts of mainland France, with all the wines, cold meats, cheeses and bakery products that go with it. The same applies to the restaurants, of which the Atelier Gourmand, only a couple of minutes walk from the sailing centre, is highly recommended. Popular with local residents and seemingly always full, it serves excellent traditional French cuisine with a not surprising emphasis on seafood. Pan fried cod in a chorizo cream sauce is a local speciality and is particularly tasty and the grilled lobster is the best we have ever tasted.
St Pierre is a popular destination for yachts and even if you cruise the entire Newfoundland coast without ever coming across another pleasure yacht, you are highly unlikely to be alone in St Pierre. Its location and other attractions make it a natural stopping point no matter whether you are heading, north, south, east or west. Very few yachts seem to pass through this area without stopping off there.