"St. Pierre et Miquelon" Top 5 Page for this destination Saint Pierre and Miquelon by crummey

Saint Pierre and Miquelon Travel Guide: 67 reviews and 172 photos

La Baie

St. Pierre et Miquelon is a department of France. St. Pierre is actually six or seven islands. However, only two are occupied; St. Pierre and Miquelon. Miquelon is the larger isle but has a smaller population and is more rural.
St. Pierre is the smaller isle but it houses the capitol. A ferry runs between them.

You can get there by ferry from Fortune Newfoundland or plane from St. John's, Newfoundland. When arriving you must go through customs. You should bring a passport. The currency is the Euro, but US and Canadian money are accepted.

If you ask people where they are from, they say "La Baie", referring to Nfld's Fortune Bay, which their archipelago is nestled in.

There are about 5-6000 people on the island of St. Pierre with about 2 1/2 thousand vehicles; You can drive around the whole island in about 15 minutes. It is rocky and virtually treeless with sheep scattered around munching on the green grass.

The primary industry is fishing, followed by government. In "The Day", smuggling was an important occupation; Al Capone visited the island. And one of his straw hats is on display at the Hotel Robert.

For such a small place, the population is very affluent and the place has a vibrant nightlife. Most things are quite expensive. But being France, cigarettes and liquor are cheap. Whenever you buy something, get a packet of Gaulois cigarettes and some vin with it; Suddenly all seems cheap.

The people are curious, warm and friendly. St. Pierre and Miquelon is a "must see" for all.

The Customs House: Stories of Customs.

There is a long history of smuggling between St. Pierre and Canada & the United Stares. Smuggling has included fish, fish bait, cigarettes, alcohol and all sorts of contraband. In St. Pierre is a large stone building; decidedly "french" in architecture. This is "The Customs House".

In World war II, the administration of St. Pierre was Vichy loyal. General De Gaulle ordered the Free French to liberate the island. Early on Christmas Eve 1941Free French ships bearthed near "The Customs House" and commandos raced around to secure the town as awakening residents chanted "Vive De Gaulle".

Today "The Customs House" stands at Place Charles De Gaulle.

"The Customs House" is a large, graceful building in the heart of the town of St. Pierre.

The St. Pierre Customs House is with real gendarmies and such. Even sniffer dogs.

Some years ago two friends of mine, rowdy geologist types who were working in the area, decided to go to St. Pierre for the weekend. They missed the ferry and ended up drinking in a local Fortune bar.

Later in the evening and many cups into it, a local agreed to sail them to St. Pierre for a fee.

On arrival the gendarmerie had to be summoned from bed to "The Customs House". While these two geologists were drunk.

One of the two fell asleep. The other filled in the two landing cards with answers such as "f*ck you", "@sshole" and "s*ck me".

The customs officer/gendarme was not amused. The geologist got rambunctious.

This led to that and the geologist yelled: "I want to see the person in charge" to which the customs officer'gendarme said "I am"; he in fact was the senior gendarme who had been roused from bed for this.

The two were sent back from "The Customs House" to Fortune, Newfoundland that night on the very vessel that had brought them to St. Pierre.

On another occassion, a person decided to go from St. John's to St. Pierre for the weekend. He understood that c@nnibis was both illegal and very pricy in St. Pierre. So s/he decided to bring some.

On arriving at the St. Pierre Customs House this person stood in line; a nice dog wandered up and started wagging his tail. "Oh look that dog likes me" thought the person.

Customs called this person to one side. The c@nnibi was siezed. Customs charged and fined the person on the spot. A fine was paid with a credit card and the person continued into St. Pierre on the vacation.

When coming into Canada you have to again go through customs. It is nothing so glamourous as St. Pierre's Customs House. A simple small non-descript functional office. Canada customs is always looking for contraband cigarettes and booze.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:wonderful, delightful people; A little bit of Europe scant miles from NFLD.
  • In a nutshell:A must see for anyone visiting the Atlantic Region
  • Intro Updated Dec 18, 2009
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