About Saint-Pierre et Miquelon
Located at the mouth of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence, Saint-Pierre et Miquelon (for convenience, referred to as SPM), is a self-governing territorial overseas collectivity of France. An archipelago, it consists of several islands; Saint-Pierre is the only island visited by cruise ships. Miquelon-Langlade is known for its nature activities and Ile aux Marins (Island of Sailors) makes a perfect day trip for cruise passengers.
Although just 12 miles distant from Newfoundland, Saint-Pierre et Miquelon's culture is oceans apart. The most western of the French possessions, SPM maintains its French heritage. The SPM flag pays tribute to those who settled the islands: Basque whalers and Briton and Norman fishermen. Fishing remains a major component of the island's industry.
During Prohibition, Saint-Pierre et Miquelon operated a rum-running operation, greatly benefiting the residents who concentrated on this endeavor, allowing their less profitable cod-fishing operations to dwindle. Many improvements to the infrastructure of the island were made during these prosperous times. Once Prohibition was repealed, the cod-fishing trade re-established itself, with some of the fishermen having to relearn the requisite skills that had been lost to the rum-running trade.
At just 25 square kilometers (less than 10 square miles), the island is easy to navigate. The downtown area consists of colorful buildings, including traditional homes, which have a distinctive airlock entry called a tambour. Walking about town gives a glimpse into the French way of life. Everything here is French: the language, the culture, the architecture; even the welcome pastries at the tourism bureau. The French influence pervades, but Basque names and games, like pelota, exist. At La Place Richard Briand, a colorful wall used for playing pelota called Le Fronton Zazpiak-Bat, is the oldest such wall in North America.
The pace is slow on the island, and the setting outstanding. A stroll along the water's edge passes the dories (boats used by fishermen). Les Zigotos, a group dedicated to the preservation of the dory, focus on keeping the tradition alive, restoring the boats and also offering fishing trips.
A quick taxi ride or a short hike leads to several overlooks, which give a view of the town and the surrounding sea and islands.
Saint-Pierre et Miquelon Cruise Reviews
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