Saint Pierre and Miquelon
Saint-Pierre and Miquelon is an archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean near the Canadian coastline. It is self-governing territorial overseas collectivity of France. The capital city is Saint-Pierre.
The climate here is temperate with cool and wet weather. The best time for visiting the islands is summer.
The official language is French. The majority of the population are the Catholics.
As the archipelago is very remote from Europe and its touristic potential is very modest, it is not reasonable to plan a journey to this country. The tourists usually visit Saint-Pierre and Miquelon as part of their big tour across Eastern Canada. The main entertainments for the tourists are excursions and yachting.
Although the islands have been populated for several thousand years, there are no ancient monuments of civilisation. There is the only city on the islands and several small settlements reminding of French villages of the beginning of the 20th century.
The local economy heavily depends on fishing. When this industry faced difficulties, many fishers changed their occupation and began to serve the tourists and offer them various entertainments. The travellers can take an excursion or rent a yacht. In Saint-Pierre and Miquelon, there is a sailing school.
Some tourists choose Saint-Pierre and Miquelon because of its wild and wonderful nature.
There are no direct flights from Europe to Saint-Pierre and Miquelon. The tourists can take a transit flight with a transfer in Canada. The airlines usually make a stop in Saint John’s or Halifax.
There is a ferry running between the islands and the Canadian province Newfoundland and Labrador. Saint-Pierre and Miquelon is one of the places where cruise ships stop. One can also get to the archipelago by yacht.
The tourists from the EU countries and Western Europe can travel to Saint-Pierre and Miquelon and stay there visa-free for an unlimited period of time. The citizens of Moldova and Balkan states can stay on the islands without a visa for 90 days. A visa-free regime is applied to the tourists who have a permanent residence in one of Schengen countries or a valid French visa.
The CIS citizens must obtain a visa to travel to Saint-Pierre and Miquelon. The documents can be submitted personally, through a close relative or a licensed travel agency.
It usually takes ten days to process the documents for a visa.
The import and export of any currency aren’t restricted but the sum of 7.000 US dollars must be declared.
The tourists can import the following goods duty-free:
- some alcohol and tobacco;
- some tea and coffee;
- perfume for personal use;
- food (for 15 Euros).
It is prohibited to import:
- rare animals and plants;
- items having historical value.
The tourists are not allowed to export:
- endangered animals and plants;
- items having historical value.
The citizens of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon are proud that they managed to preserve their own culture. Although the archipelago is a very remote place, the life here does not differ much from the life in a French village. The traditional cuisine is also based on classical French cooking traditions with some Spanish and Native Americans influence.
The meat here is only imported and the locals prefer classical French ways of cooking. Paris veal Extras, savoury pork Roll sartoi, tripe with white wine sauce, roasted pigeon, chicken with wine sauce – you will have a chance to try all these dishes in Saint-Pierre and Miquelon.
When you are served a soup, you will feel an atmosphere of a typical Paris restaurant. The local chefs are very good at making a cream soup Saint Germain and a vegetable soup Piste.
French cuisine is known for its fish and seafood dishes, but here on the islands, these dishes are even more loved and popular. The tourists can choose from hundreds of delicacies – boiled or roasted fish, crawfish, lobsters, and prawns. The locals even created their own recipes such as crawfish lasagna with mussels.
The local restaurants also serve non-European dishes such as fried bananas Tostones.
At the end of any meal, you will be served amazing desserts. Famous French souffle, French pastry, chocolate biscuits, waffles and ice-cream. The list is endless.
The most popular non-alcoholic drink is a classic French coffee.
Alcohol here is mostly imported as climatic conditions in Saint-Pierre and Miquelon are not favourable for wine-making.
The official currency in Saint-Pierre and Miquelon is Euro which is divided into 100 cents. There are 5 to 500 Euro bank notes and coins from 1 cent to 2 Euro.
The tourists can buy Euros beforehand as this is one of the major world currencies. In Saint-Pierre and Miquelon, one can exchange the currency at banks and in exchange offices. If you do not spend all the money during your journey, you can exchange only 500 Euros back to some other currency.
As Saint-Pierre and Miquelon are close to the USA and Canada the locals have to accept US dollars as well but they are not willing to do it.
Credit cards are accepted everywhere. There are ATMs at banks and in some business centres of the only city. In Miquelon, there is only one ATM.
One can cash traveller’s checks at any bank or an exchange office. Renting companies also accept the checks. It is more convenient to use the checks in US dollars or Euros.
Details of interest
Sightseeing in Saint-Pierre and Miquelon
On the territory of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon, there are no UNESCO sites. However, the tourists can visit the main touristic attractions.
- L’Ile-aux-Marins is a small island near Saint-Pierre with the remnants of old fishing communities and buildings. This place is an open air museum.
- The Grand Barachois Lagoon is a large lagoon in Miquelon where one can see sea mammals and birds;
- La Dune is a 13-kilometre sand bar in Miquelon.
- The central part of the city Saint-Pierre preserved some old buildings.
- Pointe aux Cannon Battery. These are several old cannons of the Crimean War period. They were placed in the fort which served for protection of the islands in the 17th - 18th centuries.
- The Cemetery of Saint-Pierre is an old city cemetery combining French and North American styles.
- La phare de Gallantry in Saint-Pierre is a modern lighthouse popular among the tourists. It is known for the noise it makes which is in contrast with relaxing and calm atmosphere of the island.
- In the museums, the tourists can learn more about the life of the island and its people.
Souvenirs in Saint-Pierre and Miquelon
The tourists usually buy:
- handmade crafts;
- T-shirts, keychains, caps and cups with the landscapes of the islands;