St Pierre And Miquelon

Overview

Introduction

The islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon, 140 mi/225 km southwest of St. John's, are a political oddity—they are the last North American foothold of the French. Though France lost the rest of Canada to Britain long ago, it continues to control these islands and uses them as bases for the French fishing fleet. (Be sure to take proof of citizenship if you go.) Despite their French allegiance, most establishments on the islands do accept Canadian currency.

St. Pierre and Miquelon are quiet and fairly rustic. The cobbled streets are lined with neat, brightly painted houses and brasseries. The citizens drive Renaults and Citroens and strongly identify with France.

During the 1920s, St. Pierre and Miquelon were used as distribution centers for bootleg liquor headed for the U.S., and notorious gangster Al Capone spent time in the waterfront cafes. These days, most people go there to buy duty-free French wines.

You can reach the islands by ferry from the Newfoundland town of Fortune. The ferry makes one trip out and back each day during the summer and on weekends only the rest of the year. We recommend you leave your car in Fortune, as St. Pierre (the principal destination) can easily be toured on foot or on the motor scooters or bicycles available for rent.

The islands can also be reached by air from St. John's or the Nova Scotia towns of Halifax and Sydney, but the flights are sometimes delayed for days because of inclement weather.

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