Saint Pierre and Miquelon, A Bit of France Just Ten Miles From North America

By | July 2, 2021

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Saint Pierre and Miquelon. (DeAgostini/Getty Images)

The last remaining vestige of France's colonial empire is a couple of small islands just a quick ferry ride away from Canada. Despite its close proximity to North America, Saint Pierre and Miquelon remain a little slice of France off the southern coast of Newfoundland.

Where Is Saint Pierre And Miquelon?

Saint Pierre and Miquelon is actually a collection of eight small islands totaling about 242 square miles, which is slightly larger than Chicago, about 10 miles south of Newfoundland in the North Atlantic. The French islands and the Canadian province are actually two of the few regions of the world with their own time zones. At half an hour ahead of Newfoundland, Saint Pierre and Miquelon has the earliest time zone in the world, making them the first to welcome the new year.

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Saint Pierre in 1921. (Bibliothèque nationale de France/Wikimedia Commons)

Fish And Rum

As the islands are near the Grand Banks, one of the most prolific fishing grounds of the North Atlantic, fishing is big business in Saint Pierre and Miquelon. In fact, it's the center of France's Atlantic cod fisheries. Its location also makes it a perfect hideout for anyone not wanting to be seen by anyone but some fishermen, including some high-profile (if low-repute) Americans. The infamous American mobster Al Capone lived at the Hotel Robert for a time, and during Prohibition, rum runners smuggled liquor from Saint Pierre and Miquelon into the U.S.