Saint-Pierre, which means Saint Peter in French, has been the capital city of the French overseas territorial collectivity of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon since 1985 after the French took over from the British. The port town is on the eastern shore of Saint-Pierre island, off the coast of Newfoundland. European fishers settled in the 17th century on the Island. Saint-Pierre is accessible by flight or ferry. Air Saint-Pierre operates regular flights to Miquelon while SPM Express provides ferry services between Saint-Pierre and Fortune, Newfoundland. The town expanded in the 19th century as a major commercial center for the local fishing industry and benefits from an airport. Tourism is also a significant player in the economy of the island.

As of 2014, Saint-Pierre’s population was about 5,000 people. About 90% of the population in Saint-Pierre and Miquelon live in the capital, while, 76% of the population was born on the peninsula, and 16.1% were born in metropolitan France. As a result of severe climate and geographic remoteness, most young adults leave the island to pursue their studies. Most of the population traces Normand, Breton, Acadian, and Basque heritage.

Saint-Pierre is popular for Reunionese (built heritage) tourism. For example, the former shop of the Compagnie des Indes is a great colonial construction that dates back to the 18th century. It was eventually made a public building and it is at present the Town Hall. The former Villa Motais de Narbonne (1820-1830) is a reminder of a typical residence of a state official during the colonial era. This building consists of wood, stone, and lime. There is the former “commandant’s house,” constructed in the 18th century now serving as the media library. Also worth a visit is the 19th-century Creole architecture style called the Maison Orre, named after a sugar factory and the oldest building in the city, the Adam de Villiers house built in 1760.

Saint-Pierre’s climate is subarctic and humid continental. This means that Saint-Pierre experiences cooler oceanic climate with significantly cool winters. The average temperature for the warmest months is 19 degrees Celsius in August while for the cooler months in February it is negative 3 degrees Celsius. Other elements include the rather tense wind, which is unbearable when combined with cool temperatures. In the springtime, the winds on the island decrease, increasing the likelihood of fog. It gets relatively sunny in Saint-Pierre in the summer months. Saint-Pierre receives considerable rainfall, accounting for 1,312 mm per year at an average of 146 days per year.

This page was last modified on May 1st, 2018

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