Saint Pierre and Miquelon


Settled at least in the Neolithic, the islands of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon for a long time remained at the margins of civilization. The Portuguese navigator and explorer João ваlvarez Fagundes, the first of the Europeans to sail along the shores of these islands in 1521, poetically called them “The Islands of Eleven Thousand Virgins”. Intensively exploring the New World, the French gave them a name in honor of St. Pierre - the patron saint of fishermen and sailors. In the XVI-XVII centuries, these lands were used as a base for seasonal fishing of cod by French fishermen from La Rochelle, Granville, Saint-Malo and the Basque Country, who founded the first European settlements here (Miquelon got his name from the mouth of Basque fishermen from Saint-Jean du du Luz). Concessions of the French were interrupted after the Utrecht Treaty, and only in 1763 the islands were again under the auspices of Paris. From 1763 to 1778, many immigrants from the French colony of Acadia (Nova Scotia) fled here, in 1778 the islands were attacked by the British, and their entire population was expelled in revenge for the French support of the American revolution. The islands finally returned to the jurisdiction of France only in 1816 and since then remain the last fragment of the once vast North American possessions of this European power.

The Big Newfoundland Bank, within which Saint Pierre and Miquelon lie, is one of the richest fishing areas on the planet. Even though there is some depletion of biological stocks in this region due to human activities, fishing continues to be an important source of income for the inhabitants of the islands. However, tourism, which until now has hardly developed in this part of the planet, begins to play an increasing role in the local economy - there are many people on Earth who are ready to consider not beaches or coconuts, but the harsh beauty of the northern places, the cultural identity of the population and excellent conditions for outdoor activities.

The town of Saint-Pierre - the commercial and administrative center of the islands, stretches along the northern side of the harbor of Barashua, in the eastern part of the island of Saint-Pierre. Only 6500 inhabitants live in it (however, this is 90% of the inhabitants of the islands, mostly Basques, Bretons, Normans and other immigrants from France), however, the urban infrastructure is quite modern (the second largest community in the commune is the island and the village of Il-o- Marins, entered the city line in 1945). Its whole appearance speaks of the fishing past of the islands - almost all significant structures are concentrated near the harbor, which is cut by moles and moorings, and the main landmarks here are the Alsatian-style post office buildings, its clock tower and nearby customs, behind which there is a small Charles de Gaulle square, considered the center of the city. It is here that the main events related to various holidays are held, the Old Fountain and the House with a turret are located here, and a beautiful panorama of the bay and the ocean opens from the embankment by the square.

The main attraction of the city is considered to be Saint-Pierre Cathedral in Place Morer. The first temple, built on this site in 1690, was repeatedly rebuilt, and in 1902 it was destroyed by fire and rebuilt in 1905-1907. His gallery of stained-glass windows is a gift to the island from General de Gaulle, and to restore the spire in the 70s of the XX century, stone was brought here from Alsace. Around the Place-Morer, the buildings of the Government Quarter were lined up - the Palace of Justice, the Consale Generale complex, the governor's office and the prefecture. A little to the north, just behind the buildings of the City Hall and the city hospital, is the Fronton-Zaspiac-Bat Arena - the most popular venue for competitions in the traditional Basque sport - pelota, as well as the venue for various celebrations. The word "Zaspyak", which can be translated "seven as one," personifies seven ancient Basque provinces located in Spain (Gipuzkoa, Alava, Navarra and Bizkaia) and France (Bass Navarra, Sule and Labourd, are now part of the department Atlantic Pyrenees).

Pointe-o-Cannon lighthouse is also attractive on the far-reaching breakwater into the harbor (he got his name in honor of the gun installed here, which, according to local residents, participated in the Crimean War of the 19th century, although, most likely, it was simply cast in the same period) and the Pointe-o-Cannon-Battery battery stretching at the base of the pier - all that remains of the old fort, which protected Saint-Pierre and Miquelon from British raids in 1690-1713. A little north of the fort is a series of buildings of the Les Salin fishing stations, designed to illustrate the most important aspect of the local economy - fishing culture, as well as just give the fishermen the opportunity to store their vessels and gear.

If you move from Charles de Gaulle Square to the southwest, you can find the Heritage Museum (tel: +508 41-58-88) with an extensive historical collection lying on the waterfront of the Robber Hotel with a small private museum located in it. La Proibision (tel: +508 41-24-19), the State Archives Museum (tel: +508 41-04-35) and the War Memorial located almost opposite it (dedicated to the islanders who died during the two world wars, - It is interesting to note that at a time when during the Second World War most of the territory of France was occupied by him Ami, the islands of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon from December 1941 were the stronghold of the Free France de Gaulle movement, and their citizens fought with the invaders on all fronts), Fort Lorraine on the Rue Besson (built by the forces of the Free France in 1941- 1943), lying a quarter to the north of the Calvary Cross (a reminder of the Catholic heritage of the islands), as well as the Cultural Center, the Francoforum scientific, educational and cultural center, the ice rink and the well-known Saint Pierre cemetery, made in the unique "North American" style. "

On the southeastern side of the island rises the picturesque lighthouse of Galantry (built in the 1970s on the site of the original lighthouse of the 19th century), sounding from which the fog horn, in fact, complements the look of the capital with its “romantic voice” (often tourists especially expect bad weather to to appreciate the sharp and strong sound of the bugle, which overlaps with hopeless fog and absolute silence that falls upon the island with the arrival of fog). Nearby you can find the private villa Katti-Sark (access to the territory without the consent of the owners is prohibited), which, according to local legends, is built of wood from this legendary tea clipper.

Ile aux marins

The small island of Ile-o-Marins (Ile-o-Cheyenne, 1.5 sq. Km), located in the throat of the harbor of Saint-Pierre, is, in fact, one large and quite spacious fishing village with a population of only 10 souls. Modern fishing techniques have made their “contribution” to the development of this once noisy fishing community, turning it into a quiet and relaxing open-air museum, opening a window to the past of civilization. The overwhelming majority of its inhabitants have long moved to Saint-Pierre, and the rest are assembled here only during the Putin season, so many old houses made of wood and wild stone are mostly semi-abandoned, and ocean winds walk quite freely along its two main streets. Here you can see the Notre Dame des Marins church (1874), still used for services, located opposite the Archipelago Museum and the City Hall, the battery of the old fort (XIX century) at the northwestern tip of the island, the colorful building of Hesekel House (now there is a fishing museum here), a picturesque old cemetery, an abandoned lighthouse at the southern end and rusting on the east shore of the Trans-Pacific ship and the dune landscape around it. Due to the proximity of the island to the capital, many Saint-Pierre residents gather here on the weekend.

The largest and northern island of the archipelago, Miquelon is formed by several smaller islands, between which the ocean has washed long sand spits, forming several salt lagoons. The only large settlement on the island is the village (commune) Miquelon, located in its northeastern part, on Le Cap, between the Gran Etan lagoon and the ocean. This is one of the most picturesque places on the planet - a small village with a population of no more than 500-600 people, surrounded on all sides by the sands of a 14-kilometer dune, whose eastern coast bears traces of more than 500 shipwrecks. The main attractions here are the wooden church of Miquelon located opposite each other and the stone Monument-o-Mort, the old cemetery and the Miquelon museum lying on its edge (tel .: +508 41-67-07), a compact government quarter in the center of the village and towering on the west bank of the lighthouse of Far du Cap Blanc.

The southernmost part of Miquelon is washed by an extensive lagoon, known as Gran Barashua, which is the habitat of a huge number of birds and other representatives of the fauna. Almost at any time of the year one can observe birds, either roaming from north to south or vice versa, or arranging mating games or bird markets on its shores. And the spectacle of thousands of migratory birds floating in the sky in spring or autumn is fascinating no less than this harsh and beautiful land itself. The northern cape of the island of Le Cap is also colorful, whose landscape is only emphasized by the uniqueness of the birds living here and other inhabitants of the sea. Every spring, whales migrating to Greenland pass very close to the shores of Miquelon, which allows you to watch these magnificent animals in their natural habitat.

The southern part of Miquelon, associated with it by a long sandy scythe, which locals simply call La Dune, Langlad has a reputation for a rugged and very beautiful island, whose coast is surrounded by low, but quite steep cliffs. For most of the year, only a few farmers can be found here who grow grain and raise cattle on these harsh soils. However, in the summer, up to one fifth of the permanent population of St. Pierre and Miquelon gather here. The nature on this piece of land is the most diverse of all the group's islands - steep cliffs, small forests and many wildlife representatives make it a favorite summer residence and vacation for many islanders.

Langlade's few attractions include the Clem Kuzik private museum, which contains artifacts found on the shores of the island, a lonely and picturesque chapel, the lighthouse of Le Far de La Pointe Plat and the entire 35-kilometer west coast of the island, as well as isolated rocky beaches and many bird camps scattered throughout Langlade.

Cultural features

Almost the entire population of the archipelago is French, there are immigrants from other European countries: from Spain and Scotland. The official language is French, most professing Catholicism.

The features of the national mentality include equanimity and cordiality, but the islanders and typically Gallic temperament are not without. Here it is customary to earn a living by labor, never complain and ask for help. The residents of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon are open for communication - they actively gesticulate and are used to not hide their emotions. Meeting with friends is accompanied by kisses and hugs, with strangers shake hands.

Top Attractions (5)

The dormant volcano Mont Pele, also called Montagne Pele, rises 8 km from the town of Saint Pierre on the northern coast of the island of Martinique. In height, it reaches 1397 meters above sea level, which makes it the highest point of the island.

On the coast of the Caribbean Sea, in a picturesque bay, in the southeastern part of Martinique, there is a beautiful tourist town of Le Maren, known primarily for its huge port for yachts of all sizes.

Saint-Ann is a French commune located in the south of Martinique, about 30 km from the island's capital, the city of Fort de France. St. Ann is a popular resort famous for its white sand beaches, among which Salines beach, considered one of the most beautiful in the Lesser Antilles, should be noted.

Near the city park of La Sawan, on the seashore there is a large fort of Saint-Louis, now the naval base of the French fleet in the West Indies. The history of the fortification begins in 1638, when Martinique's lieutenant general Jacques-Dil du Parket decided to strengthen the rocky peninsula that protected the bay and the marina, where the ships stood on the pier during the hurricanes.

The Frank A. Perret Museum is located at the top of Victor Hugo Street in the city of Saint-Pierre, which was called the "little Paris of the Antilles." During the recent reconstruction of the museum, its name was changed.