Saint Pierre and Miquelon Map
|Facts about Saint Pierre and Miquelon|
|Saint Pierre and Miquelon||Territory of France|
|Coordinates||46° 47′ 0″ N, 56° 12′ 0″ W|
|Location||Saint Pierre Island|
|Area||242 km2 ,93 sq mi|
|Population||5774 (2011 ) 6,345 ( 2009)|
|Government||self-governing territorial collectivity of France|
|Time zone||UTC -3|
Saint Pierre and Miquelon Map
About 4,000 kilometers away from France, near Canada, lies an island group named Saint Pierre and Miquelon, France’s Overseas Territory that is French in every way possible, despite being so far from its parent country. From building names and flag to the dialects and cuisine, the people of these islands are as much French as a Parisian, Basque, Normand, or Acadian (people from different regions in France). The islands of Saint Pierre and Miquelon are, hence, popularly referred to as a French destination in North America.
Best known for its panoramic views, fresh air, warm people, and a colorful history Saint Pierre and Miquelon is a favorite holiday destination for nearby North Americans. It is located in the Atlantic Ocean, just off the Canadian coast to the east and close to the island of Newfoundland. Saint Pierre and Miquelon is a self-governing archipelago under the territorial or "collectivity" administration of France. It is in fact the oldest and smallest "overseas collectivity" of the European country. Its currency is the Euro. Many businesses here also accept Canadian and US Dollars.
According to historians, Saint Pierre and Miquelon was discovered by Vikings in the 11th century, and again by the French in the 17th century. Down the years, the islands were the center of a tug-of-war between France and the Great Britain for some years, until France finally achieved control. The islands themselves were inhabited by fishermen colonies, which fished in the surrounding waters for cod, stored them and traded them off to the nearby countries. This was until 1920, when the US government banned alcohol consumption in their country. Saint Pierre and Miquelon then became a hotspot for the alcohol trade, where Canada marketed their booze and the American mafia smuggled them secretly to the US (till 1933). In the present, artifacts associated with those days are visible in several places. Fishing now is history due to the current shortage of fish in the sea, and more importantly the international enforcement of cessation of cod-fishing by Canada. The businesses in the islands now focus more on cultural tourism and quarantine activities.
Geography of Saint Pierre and Miquelon
The archipelago of Saint Pierre and Miquelon is a group of eight small to big islands, of which the most significant ones are Saint Pierre Island and the Miquelon-Langlade Island(s) (populations about 6,500 and 619, respectively). Saint Pierre is the smaller land mass with only 25 sq km area, whereas Miquelon is sprawled across 205 sq km. Miquelon is actually made of three islands (Le Cap, Grand Miquelon, and Langlade or Petite Miquelon) connected by sand dunes (better known as tomboles). This land mass is separated from Saint Pierre by a 4.8 km wide strait, named La Baie. This strait is popularly referred to as the "Mouth of Hell," due to the prevalence of high-speed winds. It is no wonder that harbors of Saint Pierre and Miquelon are on opposite sides.
The islands of Saint Pierre and Miquelon feature rocky terrain and deep ports. The coasts are mostly characterized by steep cliffs. There are a few short-length rivers as well in the islands, the largest being Belle in the Langlade Island. The Belle River valley is inhabited by warblers and sparrows. Many other types of birds are found in different regions of Saint Pierre and Miquelon.
How to reach Saint Pierre and Miquelon
The islands of Saint Pierre and Miquelon have two airports, one each in the two main islands. The Saint Pierre Airport is the international airport, which receives Air Saint-Pierre flights from the neighboring Miquelon Island and various cities of Canada. The Miquelon Airport has flights from Saint Pierre and a few from Canada as well. Most of the flights are seasonal in order to attract tourists to these pristine islands.
Being just about 20 km from Newfoundland, Saint Pierre and Miquelon can also be accessed by the waterway. There are regular ferries sailing to the Saint Pierre Island from the Fortune Bay in Newfoundland. You can reach the island of Newfoundland from various Canadian mainland ports, including Nova Scotia and North Sydney. Tourists are advised to carry their passports and visa (not required for North Americans) for efficient transit.
Weather of Saint Pierre and Miquelon
Saint Pierre and Miquelon have a sub-arctic climate with temperatures ranging from an average of -5 °C in the cold season (December to March; February being the coldest) to an average of 16 °C in the warm season (July to September; August being the warmest). The summer season is considered the best time to visit. During this time, you can get bright and sunny weather with gusty winds and bouts of cloudy sky at times. Winters are treacherous with snow and high speed winds that makes the chilly temperatures feel colder.
Points of Interest in Saint Pierre and Miquelon
Historic places, cultural characteristics, and a warm group of people make a tour around Saint Pierre and Miquelon quite charming. The rugged terrain with the surrounding blue-colored Atlantic Ocean, and bright weather (during summers) makes up for the lack of touristy monuments in the islands. Then again, Saint Pierre and Miquelon does have a number of small museums that narrate stories from the past, along with artifacts, paintings, and photographs. The Saint Pierre Island also has a school that teaches French language and culture. It is attended by students from the North American mainland. In addition, you can find various things relating this island to its parent country, including the names of buildings, boulangerie, flag, and even their native dialects. Miquelon has a strong Acadian community, giving you a fair insight into the lives of these Acadian descendants. Apart from these, Saint Pierre and Miquelon also has a slight Canadian essence in their warmth and festive spirit.
Here are the top points of interest in Saint Pierre and Miquelon:
Saint Pierre Cathedral – This 20th century sandstone church is constructed in the Basque architectural style. It was originally built in the late 17th century but was demolished due to fire. It is famous for its unique stained glass windows, which were considered to have been gifted by General Charles de Gaulle.
Saint Pierre Harbor - There are a number of points of interest in the port area of Saint Pierre. Starting from its landmark, the Pointe aux Canons Lighthouse, which is a red-white striped tall structure situated at the edge of the jetty. Although not open to the public, this lighthouse is popular among tourists as background for their pictures. You can also look at the Pointe aux Canons Battery a few steps away, which is believed to be associated with the Crimean War. Other places to visit in and around the Saint Pierre Harbor are the Post Office, Custom House and the Place du Général de Gaulle, which is the hub of events on Bastille Day.
L'Île-aux-Marins – Situated just off the Saint Pierre coast, L'Île-aux-Marins or the Island of the Sailors is a small deserted island. It was at one point in history, inhabited. Due to lack of electricity and efficient connection with the world, the inhabitants migrated to the nearby islands. In the present, tourists visit the isle to see the abandoned buildings, fishermen’s houses, a church, museum and a cemetery, and also for the local legends associated with this place.
Accommodation at Saint Pierre and Miquelon
Tourists in Saint Pierre and Miquelon can easily find hotels, bed and breakfasts, and rental apartments in both the main islands. These establishments though have a limited number of rooms. So, tourists are often advised to book their stay in advance, especially during the peak season. You can find a range of stay options in the islands, from budget to luxurious. Here is a list of top accommodations in Saint Pierre and Miquelon:
- L’Auberge Saint Pierre (charming hotel conveniently located near the port)
- Nuits Saint Pierre (luxurious bed and breakfast housed in a heritage building)
- Hotel Robert (largest hotel in the islands, and historically renowned for its museum dating back to the Prohibition era)
- Motel de Miquelon (known for value services and comfortable stay)
Last Updated on: November 3rd, 2017