Discover the hidden delights of Saint Pierre and Miquelon
The small enclave of St Pierre and Miquelon is an archipelago under French jurisdiction, located off the coast of Newfoundland. Full of natural beauty and bursting with wildlife, lagoons, and a vibrant culinary scene, this destination is one of the bona fide highlights of off-the-beaten-track travel in North America.
The Grand Barachois Lagoon
The four-square-miles Grand Barachois Lagoon is located in the south of Miquelon Island. Explore the lagoon from the shore as you look out for the seals and birds that make it their home, or head out on the water in a boat and experience this natural wonder from its wildlife-rich heart.
Marine life in the archipelago
Because the enclave is composed of several small islands, it's no surprise that marine life is abundant there. Creatures such as the Delphinidae (oceanic dolphin), Grampus (Risso's dolphin) and Odontoceti (toothed whale) are all native to the area, and spotting one of these much-revered creatures in its natural habitat is a thrilling experience.
A history of St Pierre and Miquelon
Europeans began to arrive on this small collection of islands off the coast of Canada in the sixteenth century – making it one of the oldest European settlements in North America. The British and French battled over and claimed their stake on the islands — and their prime location on the fringes of the Atlantic Ocean — during the eighteenth century, with the French winning out in 1815. After a brief but turbulent period under Nazi control during World War II, Saint Pierre and Miquelon returned to being a self-governing authority of France.
Exploring the islands
You'll feel like you’re stepping back in time when you visit Sailor's Island, known as L'Île aux Marins in French, with its excellently preserved sites that have remained untouched since the fishermen left almost a hundred years ago. This charming destination can be reached by a short boat ride from Saint Pierre. Equally fascinating attractions to visit include Pointe aux Canons Lighthouse, situated in the harbor, and General Charles de Gaulle Square, the epicenter of the island's history and heritage and the spot where national events are celebrated.
Activities in Saint Pierre and Miquelon
Cultural activities abound on these islands. Miquelon offers a charming church that’s evocative of times past and a local museum that tells the story of the archipelago's history. The islands host the annual Basque Festival, a colorful celebration of music that sees many of the locals flocking to celebrate.
A marine climate prevails, with brooding winters lasting for the majority of the year. The most hospitable weather occurs in August and September when the days are dry and often sunny, reaching a very pleasant 68°F.
Far away from the places that we might usually associate with history, world-class restaurants, and a vibrant cultural scene, lies the hidden gem of Saint Pierre and Miquelon, an undiscovered destination full of delights that aren’t to be missed when exploring the Newfoundland vicinity.