Former Munster winger Darren Sweetnam touched down twice as Ronan O'Gara's La Rochelle put their Champions Cup heartache behind then as they ran out convincing 51-27 winners over Pau.
Sweetnam switched from the Reds to France in a bid to revive his career, though was cup-tied for their European campaign.
After the five-point Twickenham defeat to Toulouse last time out, O'Gara's charges returned their focus to the domestic competition as they bid to win France's Top 14.
Their title bid was done no harm thanks to this bonus point win where they crossed seven times to overtake the European champions at the summit of the table.
Mathieu Tanguy, Gregory Alldritt, Wiann Liebenberg and Tawera Kerr-Barlow all scored to ensure the bonus point was wrapped up by the interval.
In the second period, Alldritt scored again before Sweetnam got two late tries to put the emphasis on the win and ensured La Rochelle's healthy points difference was further boosted.