Beau­jo­lais and baguettes far from home

The Sunday Telegraph - Travel - - North America -

Two lit­tle is­lands off the New­found­land coast are mark­ing 200 years of French rule. Nigel Tis­dall pays them a visit

How can it be that 15 miles off the wild, ice­berg-dot­ted coast of New­found­land there are two tiny is­lands that are for­ever France? This Wed­nes­day, and for much of the rest of the year, the re­mote, bar­ren and thor­oughly bizarre ar­chi­pel­ago of St Pierre and Miquelon will be awash with wine, mu­sic, pic­nic ta­bles and tri­col­ors as it cel­e­brates 200 years of be­ing a proud “morceau de France” in the vast­ness of North Amer­ica.

While other Euro­pean coun­tries also have their crumbs left from the days of em­pire, the French main­tain an en­vi­ably ex­otic spread of over­seas de­part­ments and col­lec­tiv­i­ties across the world. St Barths, French Guiana, French Poly­ne­sia, Réu­nion, May­otte in the Co­mores... What makes these two enig­matic specks next to Canada stand out is that they rep­re­sent the last gasp of a colo­nial ter­ri­tory that in the early 18th cen­tury stretched from Labrador to Louisiana. They are also not in the trop­ics – all the other French out­posts that are in­hab­ited lie some­where warm and sunny, and are of­ten places you might well want to go for a hol­i­day. By con­trast the av­er­age win­ter tem­per­a­ture here drops to mi­nus 30C – as one res­i­dent con­fides, “the low sea­son here is very long and very low”. Per­haps that ex­plains why, while Pres­i­dent Hol­lande paid a visit in De­cem­ber 2014 (and be­fore that de Gaulle, Mit­ter­rand and Chirac), Sarkozy never made it...

Get­ting to the gate­way is­land of St Pierre, which lies west of the Burin Penin­sula and is home to most of the 6,000 res­i­dents, re­quires de­ter­mi­na­tion – or bloody-mind­ed­ness if, like me, you get plea­sure from reach­ing for­got­ten cor­ners of the world. I do it by fly­ing via St John’s, the cap­i­tal of New­found­land and Labrador, which is only a five-and-ahalf-hour flight from Lon­don. From

Lo­cal lob­ster at L’Au­berge de L’Ile

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.