Saint Pierre and Miquelon
|Population||5.9 thousand (2019)|
|Electricity||230 volt / 50 hertz and 400 volt / 50 hertz (Europlug, Type E)|
|edit on Wikidata|
Saint Pierre and Miquelon are a small group of islands in the North Atlantic Ocean, south of Newfoundland and Labrador. First settled by the French in the early 17th century, the islands represent the sole remaining vestige of France's once vast North American empire, New France.
- Miquelon – the larger island (actually three of them, connected by drifted sand) and village, Basque and Acadian history, and a large amount of wildlife, small farming operations and summer homes.
- Saint-Pierre – the smaller island, the only significantly populated town (the capital), and the central area of activity.
Saint-Pierre was a site for settlement by the French in the early 17th century, later abandoned under the Treaty of Utrecht, and returned to France in 1763 at the end of the Seven Years War. The islands became a place of refuge for Acadian deportees from Nova Scotia. Saint-Pierre figured frequently in North American British-French relations. It profited heavily from U.S. Prohibition, which did not apply in this area, as they were part of France. It was depopulated and repopulated frequently, and now remains the last vestige of Imperial France within North America.
Like its northern neighbour, Newfoundland, it is a key fishing centre close to the Grand Banks, some of the world's richest fishing grounds. However, as in Newfoundland, the decline in cod stocks has seriously affected the fishery. As a result, tourism is becoming increasingly important to the economy. As a travel destination, Saint-Pierre and Miquelon is ideal for those interested in historical and cultural discovery, eco-tourism and the French language. Beyond its history, Saint-Pierre and Miquelon is a wonderful destination because of its mild refreshing climate, its beautiful landscapes, the quality of the air and the warmth of its inhabitants.
As a part of France, the area has much in common with Europe, but also with its Canadian and American neighbours.
- Tourism Office (Comité Régional du Tourisme), Place du Général de Gaulle, ☏ , fax: .
Although Saint Pierre and Miquelon are territories of France, they are not part of the Schengen Zone, so immigration procedures are different from those of France. Canadian residents will need passports for a stay of over three months, otherwise some forms of photo ID are acceptable (bear in mind that while the wording of the law states that “holders of a Canadian identification document are exempted from carrying a passport or visa for stays of under 90 days per 180-day period”, meaning that even non-citizens with a Canadian driver's license, provincial ID, or permanent resident card can enter, additional documentation will be required when re-entering Canada or going to mainland France on the seasonal Paris flight). All others will need passports and, in some cases, visas. Check with your local French consulate or embassy. Most travellers are only given a cursory inspection when entering the island of Saint-Pierre.
Air service to Saint-Pierre is available via Air Saint-Pierre through:
- St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador (45 minutes)
- Halifax, Nova Scotia (1.25 hours)
- Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Quebec
- Montreal, Quebec (2.75 hours)
Air Saint Pierre operates non-stop flights to and from Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport in July and August only; these cost €550-580/person (one way) and run once a week. There are no other flights to Saint Pierre FSP IATA and Miquelon MQC IATA from anywhere but Canada.
As Canada does not allow sterile transit, travel to Saint Pierre and Miquelon requires a multiple-entry Canadian Visa or eTA, even for passengers who would otherwise enjoy visa free entry to Saint Pierre and Miquelon. U.S. Citizens as well as French Citizens living in Saint Pierre and Miquelon are exempt from the eTA and are not required to apply for one as part of their transit via Canada although U.S. permanent residents must apply for an eTA before transiting via Canada.
- From Argentia, take Route 100 northeast until the Trans Canada Highway (Route 1). Take Route 1 West to Route 210. On 210, head Southwest until Route 220. Take 220 to Fortune.
- From Port aux Basques, take the Trans Canada Highway (Route 1). Take Route 1 East until Route 210. On 210, head Southwest until Route 220. Take 220 to Fortune.
As the island of Newfoundland is home to a moose population of over 100,000, do drive slowly and cautiously, especially when driving at night. Remember that hitting a moose is not like hitting a deer--a moose is a tall beast, and your car will hit its legs, knocking the brunt of its weight into the windshield and you. Depending on the size of your vehicle and speed, this could result in death or serious injury.
The distance from the Trans-Canada Highway to Fortune is about 200 km (120 mi), and there's no public transport on that stretch. Hitchhiking or taking a taxi from Clarenville are the fastest options if you don't have your own car.
- SPM Ferries, ☏ . Ferries SUROÎT and NORDET cross from Fortune, Newfoundland to St. Pierre, Miquelon or Longlade. SP, one-way: €45/adult, €40/senior, €35/child + €10/bicycle.
Given the compact size of Saint-Pierre, it is generally easy to get around on foot. Those intimidated by the town's notorious sloping streets may find that a rented scooter may be a more friendly option. There are also a number of taxi services that offer guided tours of Saint-Pierre. Avid renters, be warned that there is but a handful of rental cars on the island.
The nearby islands of île aux Marins, Langlade, and Miquelon may be accessed via ferry. Île aux Marins and Langlade are inhabited only during the summer months and lack amenities such as taxis, hospitals, or internet service. The town of Miquelon is considerably smaller than Saint-Pierre and therefore has fewer hotels, shops, and restaurants.
The French spoken in Saint Pierre and Miquelon is very similar to that spoken in northwestern France (Normandy and Brittany). The islanders are quite proud of their linguistic heritage.
Due to its proximity to English-speaking Canada, Saint-Pierre has become a popular destination for Anglophone students wishing to become immersed in French language and culture.
The islands have a specialist language teaching facility named the FrancoForum, owned and operated by the local government in Saint-Pierre. Staffed by professional French instructors, the institute offers a variety of courses for both students and teachers wishing to improve their fluency.
The FrancoForum is best known for hosting Le Programme Frecker, a 3-month French immersion program offered to students at Memorial University in Newfoundland, Canada. The program began in 1975, was originally housed in a small building at the centre of town. In 2000, an agreement was reached with the Territorial Council in Saint-Pierre to relocate the programme to the newly built FrancoForum.
English is spoken as a second language by the majority of the population, due to the number of Canadian and American tourists who visit, as well as the close relationship between local fishermen and those from Newfoundland.
Soak up this little corner of France in North America.
Exchange rates for euros
As of January 2023:
Exchange rates fluctuate. Current rates for these and other currencies are available from XE.com
Like the rest of France, the official currency is the euro ("€", ISO currency code: EUR). It is divided into 100 cents. In Saint-Pierre, it is also common for Canadian and U.S. dollars to be accepted by merchants. Chip-and-PIN credit cards are accepted everywhere except bakeries.
You will find that nearly everything is on the expensive side, with the notable exceptions of wine and cigarettes.
French cuisine is standard in Saint Pierre and Miquelon but the dependency has some excellent restaurants along with local specialties. Travellers to Saint Pierre and Miquelon should also note that the prices can get quite expensive.
Those who love seafood should look into the Seafood Festival that is held every year in mid-August in the small town of Miquelon. However only 500 tickets are available and they can only be bought 3-4 days ahead of time in Miquelon.
Both islands have a number of hotels, B&Bs, and rental apartments, though none are large — only a couple of establishments on Saint Pierre have more than a dozen rooms, so be sure to book in advance.
There is little crime in Saint Pierre and Miquelon and this destination should be considered one of the safest possible in North America.
Unlike virtually everywhere else in North America, the power mains voltage is mostly 220 V. If you're from a 110-120 V country, note that a euro-plug adaptor doesn't reduce the voltage, and so will cause your appliance to burn out quickly. See the Electrical systems article for more information. Note that a few bed & breakfast inns have 110 V with North American outlets, though the frequency is still 50 Hz which can effect clocks and motors.
Saint Pierre and Miquelon pose few health threats. The weather is often chilly and a sweater comes in handy, even during the summer months. If a serious injury should occur, there is a small hospital located in the town of Saint-Pierre. Patients who require special treatment are usually sent to larger, better-equipped hospitals in Canada.
Heading back to Canada is the most sensible choice. Go to Halifax, Montreal or St. John's by plane. Alternatively, take a ferry to Fortune, Newfoundland. There are now also seasonal flights in July and August to Paris.