Archive for France

Fabulous day in St. Pierre

What a wonderful trip this has been to St. Pierre!  Despite an overcast start to the day, the weather cleared up beautifully and was simply gorgeous all afternoon & evening.

We started with a small complimentary breakfast of coffee and pastries at our little b&b, Auberge Quatre Temps.  It is quite charming, with only 6 rooms – nothing fancy, but each has its own bathroom, they’re quite clean, and the beds very comfy.  (I’d still like to try and stay at Nuits next time we come, but I would definitely recommend this place for anyone coming out for a long weekend).

Next we made our way to the “downtown” area near the dock (about a 10 minute walk from our b&b), where we explored for a bit before sitting at a nice bench in a little garden down by the water and just enjoying the view and the tranquility.  The water was so calm, there’s no hustle and bustle, it was very relaxing to just sit there and enjoy each other’s company for a while.

One of the beautiful flowers down by the water.

One of the beautiful flowers down by the water.

There were some tours available – at least one that drove you around our island and another that took you by boat to Miquelon, the next island over.  We decided against the tours just because we wanted to explore by ourselves and I’m rather glad we did.  The boat tour to Miquelon takes an entire day.  With only half of Friday, all day Saturday, and half of Sunday here, that would have taken up our only full day in St. Pierre and all the shops are closed on Sunday so we really would not have had any time in St. Pierre itself.  I would plan on having a 4-day weekend next time we come so that we do have the chance to see Miquelon and still have a full day in St. Pierre.  As for the bus tour, we met two couples on the ferry over and they did the bus tour Saturday morning.  When we ran into them later they were rather disappointed with their “tour.”  Apparently they drove around for almost an hour and a half; not bad, except for the fact that their “tour guide” only spoke for about 5 minutes of that hour and a half.  Anyway, back to our day…

When we set off to explore a bit more, we noticed that all the shops and stores we saw were closing at noon and would not re-open until about 2pm.  As noon was fast approaching, this seemed like a good time to make our way to lunch.  I’d done some research online before our arrival and we’d already decided to check out Les Délices de Joséphine for lunch based on different reviews.  On our way we ran into the two couples I mentioned earlier who we sat with on the ferry ride over – charming older folks from St. John’s and they happened to be heading to the same place so we all sat down for lunch together.  Oh my gosh, if you come to St. Pierre you HAVE to go to  Les Délices de Joséphine.  We each had a slice of the best quiche Tyler and I have ever tried – his was a quiche lorraine, while mine had goat cheese and bell peppers – which also came with a delicious little green salad.  Top that off with a glass of white wine and a scrumptious little handmade pastry for dessert and you’ve got yourself an amazing lunch.  It was a delightful way to pass the time, sitting their with our new friends and enjoying such fabulous food.  I recommend arriving early for lunch as they only make so much quiche each day and as the 4 folks who arrived near the end of lunchtime learned the hard way: when it’s gone, it’s gone.  They still have little sandwiches they make fresh all afternoon, but it is worth it to go early and get the quiche!

Les Délices de Joséphine, St. Pierre et Miquelon

Les Délices de Joséphine, St. Pierre et Miquelon

The weather cleared up while we had lunch, the gray clouds lifting leaving us with a gorgeous sunny day.  We decided to walk along the water for a bit and enjoy the sunshine.  There was a cute little lighthouse a short ways down from the dock where got off the ferry so we made our way down there.  Turns out you can walk along the breakwater (I use this term loosely – there wasn’t a wave to be seen!) all the way out to the little lighthouse and enjoy the view of a slightly more remote part of St. Pierre across the bay.  And the water, oh my gosh, the water was crystal clear.  I mean it was like looking through glass.  There was no color to it or sediment in it, you could see straight through to the bottom with no distortions.

The charming lighthouse in St. Pierre.

The charming lighthouse in St. Pierre.


The crystal clear waters off the coast.

The crystal clear waters off the coast.

Sitting at the base of the lighthouse, enjoying the beautiful weather.

Sitting at the base of the lighthouse, enjoying the beautiful weather.

We finally wandered back into town and headed to one of the wine shops that we had scoped out earlier (Comptoir d’Importation des Alcools or C.I.A.) to buy some French wine to take home.  One of the employees was so nice, asking questions about what we liked and making suggestions on what to buy.  I was really impressed with their prices too considering that everything has to not only be shipped from France, but arrive via Canada as well.  We bought 5 bottles of French wine for only 40 euros.  They also had quite a selection of wine and liquor from other countries as well, plus a variety of foie gras, pâté, cigars, and other culinary delicacies.  There was another wine shop, Le Tire Bouchon, just around the corner, but their selection of wine was much more limited.

After shopping a bit more and taking our wine back to our room, it was time for dinner.  We’d made reservations at a place down by the water that Tyler found online, L’Atelier Gourmand.  Let me say, our dinner the first night was quite good, but this place blew that one out of the water!  We sat on their outdoor patio and enjoyed grilled local foie gras, duck breast with raspberry sauce and blackberry sorbet, braised beef cheek in red wine sauce, and another great bottle of wine.  It was absolutely charming and a great way to spend our last night in St. Pierre.

L'Atelier Gourmand, St. Pierre et Miquelon

On the patio of L’Atelier Gourmand, St. Pierre et Miquelon

So today most everything is closed.  We’re packed and ready to go.  We’re planning on one more lunch at Josephine’s and I’m hoping to pop into the tourism office to see if they have a patch with the local flag on it for my collection.  All in all, this was a very relaxing weekend getaway and I highly recommend stopping by if you ever have the chance.  For more information on St. Pierre, you can browse through their 2013 Tourism Guide (in both French & English).

Random side note: I was surprised at how many large trucks there were on this small island, including a H4 Hummer!

Update: Joséphine’s was closed until the afternoon 🙁 And no flag patch.  Le sigh.  But we did see a humpback whale while on the ferry back to Fortune, NL!  Plus we had the best weather for our drive home, made it back safely, and have our two girls with us again.

Welcome to St. Pierre et Miquelon

As I mentioned earlier today we drove to France from St. John’s this morning. There is a small archipelago off the southern coast of Newfoundland that does in fact belong to France and it is only a 4 hour drive and an hour ferry ride away.

St Pierre ferry

The ticket office for the ferry. It leaves from St. Pierre only once a day and returns from Fortune, NL afterwards (and the ferry does not always operate every day).

The drive was lovely, with lots of diverse terrain; the ferry ride…well, I got seasick for the first time in my life. It was really hot on the boat, there were some folks with bad BO, we were pitching quite a bit as we sped across the waves, and all the other folks around us who were getting sick did not help.  But the staff was great – they were well prepared with sick bags, cold wet washcloths, and even a trash bag for one poor individual in the back.

On the ferry to St. Pierre

On the ferry (before it got moving and the seasickness ensued).

Not the best way to kick off our trip, but we survived. We didn’t explore much today (I just was not feeling up to it after the ferry), but we did walk through town to get to our little B&B which is about 10 minutes away from the dock and quite lovely. They have a separate restaurant closer to the main downtown area called Saveurs des Iles where we had a delicious 3 course prix fixe menu of scallop salad, duck filets, and creme brulee as well as a delicious bottle of wine from Bordeaux.

3 course prix fixe at Saveurs des Iles

3 course prix fixe at Saveurs des Iles in St. Pierre et Miquelon

I’m very excited to go exploring (and wine shopping!) around town tomorrow 🙂

Read about the rest of our trip to St. Pierre here.

Starting our drive to France!

Yes, you read that right. We’re driving to France from Canada 😉 stay tuned…

Can you tell that we're ready for football season?

Can you tell that we’re ready for football season?


Read about our trip to France here and here.