The Bizarre History of the French Islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon

Though you might mistake these two tiny islands as part of Canada’s wide North American berth, the islands of Saint Pierre and Miquelon are actually a legal French territory.

And these mini slices of France have quite a strange history. For example, the mostly barren islands were colonized entirely for the purposes of cod fishing, and they became an enormous hub for bootlegging liquor during Prohibition, as they were close to the U.S. but still alcohol-friendly. The island’s etymology is also quite intriguing — it is named after the saint of fishermen, who was set to be executed in the mid-1800s, but who was forced to wait for months while the islands procured a guillotine from Martinique, then the only legal way to execute a man.

Explore this piece of France on this side of the Atlantic with island hopper Conor Knighton, who will take you through the quaint, fiercely patriotic French islands which, despite all odds, have stood the test of time.