Photo Story | Atlantic Canada, Sable Island and Gulf of Saint Lawrence

My Favourite Things to Do in Saint-Pierre

© Dennis Minty

Make a trip to Saint-Pierre and Miquelon to explore its many hidden gems. The great architecture, history, shopping, and cuisine here will all leave you wanting more. Photographer Dennis Minty shares his favourite tips and tricks for how to spend a day (or two, or three!) in this special place.
Colourful house window Saint Pierre

© Dennis Minty

Wander the Streets

Pick up a map from the tourist information office and take some time to wander Saint-Pierre’s narrow streets and laneways. Houses of nearly every colour found in the crayon box sing out their presence. Some even have matching Renaults, Peugeots, or Citroens parked outside! Admire the many windows adorned with lacy curtains, flowerpots, colourful porcelain figures, and cats.

House collage Saint Pierre

© Dennis Minty

Study the Colourful Architecture

Many homes in Saint-Pierre have a tambour—a small, closed entrance that projects over the sidewalk. They serve to preserve heat in the winter and provide a place to shed your coat and boots, but they must test the snowplough drivers’ skill in winter.

Dancing at Fronton wall Saint Pierre

Swing past the Fronton Wall

Watch a game of pelota at the fronton wall, found at the intersection of Rue Maître Georges Lefèvre and Rue Maréchal de Lattre de Tassigny, dating from 1906. The Basques brought pelota (a collective name for several ball games like squash or racquetball) to Saint-Pierre and it is still played today. It is also the site of community events like the annual Basques festival.

Walking Saint Pierre waterfront

© Dennis Minty

Walk the Waterfront

Making your way along the water, you will quickly get an idea of the importance of boats in the lives of local people—fishing boats, cargo ships, ferries, sailboats, and pleasure crafts of all shapes, sizes, and colours can be found here. As you stroll, keep an eye out for seals basking on the breakwaters.

Shopping boucherie Chez Julien Saint Pierre

© Dennis Minty

Shop ‘til You Drop

Enjoy the plentiful shops that are sure to delight you with wonderful traditional crafts. Check out the little grocers, too, such as the Boucherie-Épicerie Chez Julien. Baguettes? Foie gras? Red wine? No problem. Just remember that euros are the official currency in Saint-Pierre and Miquelon, although the Canadian dollar is also widely accepted.

Panorama view of town Saint Pierre

© Dennis Minty

Get High (No, Not Like That!)

Take some time to hike uphill and get a wonderful panoramic view of the Crayola-coloured town and its beautiful harbour. You won't regret making the trek, and a pain-au-chocolat will taste all the better for it later.

Mirror view Saint Pierre

© Dennis Minty

Get the Perfect Photograph

On your way up the hills, keep an eye out for the convex traffic mirrors that help drivers see around the corners of the narrow streets—they provide great perspectives for photos!

Ile aux Marins Saint Pierre

© Dennis Minty

Visit L'Île-aux-Marins

Magical L'Île-aux-Marins, rich with history and beauty, is where Saint-Pierre’s local residents go to get away from it all. If you have some extra time, reach it via a small passenger ferry situated near the main terminal.

Boulder fields l Île aux Marins Saint Pierre

© Dennis Minty

Discover the History of the Cod Fishery

Be sure to read the historical plaques as you wander through L'Île-aux-Marins. In front of many of the colourful houses, you will see boulder-strewn squares that were once used for drying codfish. Seven hundred people once lived here beginning in the early 1600s, but after the 1960s it became a ghost town. Today, people are returning once more to the small, pretty homes and restoring them.

Baguettes Saint Pierre

© Dennis Minty

Eat to Your Heart’s Content at Les Délices de Joséphine

End your visit to Saint-Pierre with a stop at Les Délices de Joséphine for a delicious lunch or snack with a glorious coffee. The ambience is delightful, the food is outstanding, and you will almost certainly find some of your fellow travellers here. (In fact, you might want to avoid peak times, because it is often full.)

About the Author

Dennis Minty

Dennis Minty

Photographer, Wildlife Biologist

Dennis has been working with Adventure Canada since 2002. Dennis’s path—from his small island roots in Twillingate, Newfoundland to his current career as a photographer and eco-tour leader—has taken him through more than three decades of local and international work.

For him, nature and photography are inseparable. Dennis immerses himself in nature through photography and seeks to inspire in the viewer a deeper connection with the natural world. Dennis has authored nine books on subjects such as environmental science, his home province of Newfoundland and Labrador, and his photography.

To see more of Dennis' work, visit his website.

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