This page, like everything else, is a work in progress…
It has been difficult to find information about shopping in Noumea in terms of groceries, home goods, hardware stores, etc. so I thought I’d put together a list of the stores we’ve found so far that are good for certain things. One thing about New Caledonia that is much different than the US is that you can rarely go to one store for everything. We find ourselves going to 2 or 3 different grocery stores depending on what items we need (while one may be good for produce, it may not have many packaged goods or meats).
The other convenience we miss is being able to head to the google for info on where to find what. Most places here don’t have much of a web presence (if only there were some unemployed developers available…) so word-of-mouth is the way to go. The other, surprisingly efficient, way of finding info is the good old fashioned phone book yellow pages. A little google translate action and the phone book will tell you just about every business type you can think of. Thanks to Julie for this tip!
This is by no means a comprehensive list – most of the locations are just ones we’re near, have been recommended, or we’ve stumbled upon. So without further adieu, here’s the list which will be updated as we discover more:
Simply Market (Michel Ange)
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This is the closest store to us so it’s the first we’ve discovered and the most frequently visited by us. Depending on who’s telling you, this is either called Michel Ange, Simply Market, or something else but they’re all talking about the same place. The store brand here is Auchan.
The parking lot is big enough if a little tight and is shared with some other stores: a bank, a pharmacy, a news shop, and a garden/DIY store.
This is usually a good location for produce compared to some other supermarkets. Like most places, you may be terribly disappointed in the selection one day and overjoyed the next. It seems like the freshest stuff goes out Friday/Saturday. Monday seems to be the worst for freshness but there’s never a crowd.
Other than produce, you can get most staples here at relatively reasonable prices. The meats and cheeses are good, if a little pricey. I don’t know enough about French wine to say whether or not it’s a good selection… There’s also a small ethnic section (Vietnamese/Thai/Chinese) and a few Mexican type things.
In addition to grocery, Simply Market also has a large section of home goods, cleaning products, toiletries, and such. We actually got a pretty decent deal on a stainless steel saucepan here – most things here are cheapo teflon junk that flakes off after 3 uses…
tl;dr – good for produce. convenient for us. not-as-terrible-as-some kitchenwares.
This one is also relatively close to us. The store brand here is (obviously) Carrefour. It is mini when compared to the monstrous Carrefour that will have its own section here but still a full-fledged grocery with produce, deli, frozen, etc..
The parking lot here is a bit more navigable than the Simply Market and you can usually get a spot without much problem.
This is just a standard grocery store, maybe a little smaller than some. The deli does not seem as extensive as other places. I can’t say too much about it other than it has the same stuff as any other store except the brand is Carrefour. We’ve been able to get some decent produce here but it seems more hit-and-miss than some other places.
This is the “full sized” Carrefour – more like the HUGE Carrefour. This place is the equivalent of a Wal-Mart Superstore considering you can get groceries, clothing, homewares, toys, office supplies, etc. etc.. It is actually a bit intimidating how big it is. You can even buy Carrefour brand powertools, garden accessories, and DIY supplies. Prices seem pretty reasonable on most food things.
The parking lot is huge and outside of the Carrefour there are some boutiques, a pharmacy, and some places to grab a sandwich or drinks. Across the parking lot is a sporting good store and a home improvement store so you can spend all day at this place if you’re into that sort of thing.
Like the huge Carrefour, Geant is another one of those superstores. It’s a little smaller than the Carrefour but not much. The store brand here is Casino (I don’t think they have their own brand of power tools). The parking lot is big but seems a bit tighter/more busy than Carrefour. Of course it all depends what time you go (I avoid like the plague on weekends). The produce here is usually pretty decent and the meats look good and fresh. They’ve had a few good sales on alcohol the few times I’ve been there so keep an eye out.
Side note – if you need to get a key copied, there is a little kiosk outside the store to the right near the bank machines. It costs about 500XPF for a copy.
A quick note on DIY stuff – go to Ducos. Seriously. Ducos is a neighborhood that is completely loaded with DIY stores, welding supplies, lumber stores, construction materials, and so forth. It helps to know the french word for what you’re looking for, but a drive up the main road in Ducos (Rue de la Baie des Dames) will present you with at least one store selling what you need.
Bricolage is the french term for “DIY”. This is the equivalent of a Lowes or Home Depot store. There is the Ducos location just off of the main traffic circle there and another location by the mega-carrefour. They have plenty of tools, hardware, garden supplies, outdoor furniture, lumber, building materials, and so forth. I did notice some things (like garden soil) was actually cheaper at carrefour but I could have just been lucky that day what with how much prices seem to jump around here.
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Briconautes is just like Mr. Bricolage except it seems to be a bit smaller from what I’ve seen so far (it also doesn’t show up on google maps – get on that, business owners!). I’ve seen a few other locations while driving around but I can’t remember their addresses so I’ll have to add them later…
La Pharmacie de l’Automobile
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Funny name to my anglophone eyes (does that make any sense?), but these guys have auto care products (wash/wax, microfiber cloth, car seat covers and accessories, some parts, spark plugs, etc.) much like AutoZone or the like back home. While the selection isn’t huge, they’re happy to help you with what you need and the prices are reasonable. They seem like a mom and pop type place so I’d rather give them my business than the megastores. They actually have a website which is not common for businesses here so bravo to them! If it weren’t for their website I probably would never have found them and would have ended up getting ripped off on supplies at Carrefour or Geant.